Having been diagnosed with breast cancer 10 years ago, Pam Sikora is strong advocate for breast screening, which is how her cancer was first detected.
“I recommend the breast screen to anybody and scanning for younger women.
“It’s basically a thing you have to have nowdays,” Pam said.
Results have shown that early detection and diagnosis leads to an increased survival in breast cancer patients.
“I was diagnosed March 2010.
“The breast screen van was visiting Cobar and I already had myself booked in before I even discovered the lump,” Pam told The Cobar Weekly.
Pam recalls there were 10 other local women diagnosed with breast cancer during the van’s visit in 2010.
“It actually saved them,” she said.
Following her screening, Pam was referred for more tests which confirmed she had breast cancer.
She said breast cancer wasn’t something that “ran in her family”, and no other family members had been diagnosed before her.
“My sister Regina had cancer but not breast cancer, I was the only one.”
Pam said her doctors told her “it was a lifestyle thing”.
“But because you’ve got it, it does put your children (and it’s not just daughters because breast cancer can also affect your sons) at a higher risk.”
Pam’s been unlucky and she’s had two reoccurrences of cancer.
“It recurred near my clavicle only a short period of time after the breast cancer and then I went back onto chemo and I’ve been on chemo ever since.
“Out of the 11 of us diagnosed 10 years ago, I was the one that had ongoing problems.
“By notifying me a little bit earlier, I managed to get another 10 years,” Pam said.
Pam travels to Dubbo every three weeks for treatment and while it takes her body longer to recover each time she vows she will continue to fight.
“I’ve got four kids and 11 grandkids
“Basically you just take one step at a time, and you say to yourself well we get through this one and see how we go and if that plan doesn’t work, we go to Plan B or whatever,” Pam said.
Breast cancer affects one in eight women in Australia during their lifetime.
A mammogram is the best method of finding breast cancer early, which will increase a woman’s chance of survival.
The BreastScreen NSW van is in Cobar until the end of the week.
More information can be found at breastscreen.nsw.gov.au