BETH SMITH:

ME - - News -

“In the two weeks be­tween find­ing the lump and hav­ing surgery it had tripled in size.”

STORY: SHARON WRIGHT PIC­TURE: HOLLY CUR­TIS sim­ple ev­ery­day oc­cur­rence led to Beth Smith’s shock breast can­cer di­ag­no­sis. In 2007 and aged just 30, Beth — wife of Ja­son, mother of Josh, 9, and Clau­dia, 6, and staff mem­ber at Pen­tal Lim­ited in Shep­par­ton — was given the news she had an ag­gres­sive stage three can­cer in one breast. “It was Aus­tralia Day, 2007 and I was out shop­ping. I dropped some­thing and when I went to pick it up my bag fell off my shoul­der; when I lifted my bag up my hand brushed against my breast and I felt some­thing,” Beth said. She de­scribes her­self as “breast aware” and had only con­ducted her monthly self ex­am­i­na­tion a fort­night be­fore. The fol­low­ing day Beth at­tended a Satur­day morn­ing GP clinic, was re­ferred for a mam­mo­gram and ul­tra­sound and on Valen­tine’s Day, Fe­bru­ary 14, had the can­cer­ous breast re­moved, along with lymph nodes from un­der her arm. “In the two weeks be­tween find­ing the lump and

A hav­ing surgery it had tripled in size. And two days be­fore my 31st birth­day I started chemo; six treat­ments over three months,” Beth said. Beth has since had re­con­struc­tive surgery and un­der­gone test­ing, which de­ter­mined the can­cer was not ge­netic. Dur­ing her treat­ment and re­cov­ery Beth said her fam­ily, friends, em­ploy­ers and med­i­cal team, in­clud­ing breast care nurse Kerry Pat­ford, were sup­port­ive and re­as­sur­ing. “Kerry was al­ways only a phone call away, even at one in the morn­ing when I was hav­ing a mo­ment. Some­times I just needed to talk to some­one who wasn’t con­nected fam­i­lywise,” Beth said. “About two years ago it (can­cer) stopped con­sum­ing me, I started play­ing net­ball again and I be­came Beth again, in­stead of Beth with breast can­cer. “It’s not at the front of my mind all the time any­more. I was and con­tinue to be sur­rounded by pos­i­tive peo­ple and I haven’t looked back.”

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