Lucky catch for cancer patient
DALBY residents are about 6 per cent more likely to get cancer but resident Barb Handley says the news isn’t as bad as it sounds.
Mrs Handley struggled through a bout of breast cancer and a double mastectomy years ago but said she had access to world-class facilities and doctors about an hour’s drive away in Toowoomba.
It was the persistence of those doctors that ensured her cancer was caught in time after she came up all clear in a mammogram and ultrasound.
Through a mammogram years ago it was discovered that Mrs Handley had dense, lumpy breast tissue, so despite not having a family history of breast cancer, the finding increased her risks of getting the deadly disease.
She began going in for annual mammograms and ultrasounds at St Andrew’s Hospital in Toowoomba.
Despite receiving a negative result during one of those annual screenings, Mrs Handley had a nagging feeling about some discharge in one breast that turned out to be completely unrelated.
She went back to her GP, who recommended she see a surgeon.
Next thing she knew she was discussing treatment options for a number of both malignant and benign tumours the surgeon discovered.
“Once they take out a tumour, they like to create a wider margin around it, so that was another surgery,” Mrs Handley said.
“That came back that I had more cancer and the first thought that went through my head was my mother telling me that if you have to do something, you have to do it well and now I’ve done this cancer thing so thoroughly.”
After that it was regular trips back to Toowoomba to have the surgical sites drained and her wounds checked.
While it was a scary time for Mrs Handley and her husband, Richard, she said it would have been downright terrifying if they still lived out west as they did when they were younger.
She said she also didn’t envy local cancer patients without family support or adequate access to transport.
❝back That came that I had more cancer... — Barb Handley
STAYING STRONG: It is not all doom and gloom for cancer patients being close to great facilities in Toowoomba, according to Barb Handley.