By Ashleigh Fielding | posted on October 10, 2019
AN ALBANY woman who endured seven months of intensive chemotherapy for breast cancer while caring for her terminally ill husband has urged women to never ignore unusual changes to their bodies.
Kris Taylor shared her story with the Weekender for October Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a Cancer Council WA campaign to remind women to be breast aware and participate in breast screenings.
Ms Taylor was diagnosed with stage one breast cancer in May 2015.
She started feeling a niggling pain near her breast and decided to get it checked out.
She said she always went for her regular mammograms.
“It was November 2014 and I thought it was just indigestion,” Ms Taylor said.
“But then my husband got his cancer diagnosis in February, so I put all my attention on him.
“Then one day, I got my friend to look after him while I went to the doctor and they rang me back soon after to say I needed to see a surgeon.”
Now, having laid to rest her husband and mother – former Albany mayor Annette Knight – and being in the clear with her cancer, Ms Taylor is determined to be strong.
“I buried Mum, I buried Paul, and I thought, I’ve got to be a survivor,” she said.
“I’ve got to get out there and help other people.
“Life is for living and I have so much more living to do – breast cancer can either take your breath away or give you life.”
To celebrate her 60th birthday recently, Ms Taylor treated herself to a chest tattoo, which covers her double mastectomy scars and includes lots of flowers, which she said are a tribute to all breast cancer survivors.
She now avoids meat and soy products, grows all her own fruit, vegetables, herbs and spices, and goes for six-monthly checkups.
She urged women to know their breasts and participate in screenings when they are eligible.
Cancer Council WA Great Southern Regional Education Officer Bruce Beamish echoed her message.
He said women from regional WA were particularly likely to delay going to a medical clinic when they were experiencing symptoms, with many experiencing self-doubt about the existence of the symptoms.
“Everyone’s breasts are different,” Mr Beamish said.
“It is important that you get to know what your breasts look and feel like, so you know what is normal for you.
“Being breast aware and knowing what to look for could help find breast cancer early and increase the chance of successful treatment.”
Information about breast cancer symptoms can be found at findcancerearly.com.au