Cancer caught by mam­mo­gram

North Shore Times - - OUT & ABOUT - KASHKA TUN­STALL

A rou­tine mam­mo­gram was a sav­ing grace for Sun­nynook woman Lisa Mor­ris­sey.

The 54-year-old had no clue that her reg­u­lar screen­ing in July last year would pick up a shadow on her breast.

The screen­ing was on a Satur­day. On Mon­day, med­i­cal staff con­tacted her, say­ing they were con­cerned with her re­sults. On Wed­nes­day, she un­der­went fur­ther test­ing.

A week later the di­ag­no­sis was back - breast cancer.

The mum-of-three un­der­went surgery - a mas­tec­tomy to re­move the left breast and a re­con­struc­tion be­fore start­ing che­mother­apy last Oc­to­ber.

The full course of treat­ment for Mor­ris­sey, who was di­ag­nosed with HER2-pos­i­tive breast cancer, also in­cluded ra­di­a­tion ther­apy and the drug Her­ceptin.

Mor­ris­sey has had to travel over the Har­bour Bridge to Auck­land City Hos­pi­tal for treat­ments as it was the clos­est fa­cil­ity of­fer­ing them.

To avoid park­ing trou­bles, she would travel by bus, some­times in peak hours, and re­turn home af­ter treat­ment the same way.

‘‘Com­ing home is quite hard be­cause it’s af­ter the treat­ment and you’re quite tired and you feel a bit sick,’’ she said.

Last month, North Shore Hos­pi­tal be­gan of­fer­ing Her­ceptin treat­ments. Mor­ris­sey is the first pa­tient to make use of the new ser­vice.

Her­ceptin, which takes around 75 min­utes to de­liver, is given ev­ery 21 days.

Mor­ris­sey said the drug has had side ef­fects like nau­sea, fa­tigue and what she calls ‘‘brain-stut­ter­ing’’.

The fact she can now go down the road from home for treat­ment has been ‘‘pos­i­tive,’’ Mor­ris­sey said. ’’You can re­lax about that part of it, it takes one of those stresses away.’’

Mor­ris­sey is near­ing the end of her cancer treat­ment, with only a hand­ful of Her­ceptin ap­point­ments left be­fore the end of the year.

She will take un­til March to have some well-de­served good health be­fore she re­turns to work.

Hos­pi­tal char­ity The Well Foun­da­tion is fundrais­ing for two re­clin­ing chairs to de­liver the new Her­ceptin in­fu­sion ser­vice at the site.

The foun­da­tion is aim­ing to raise $20,000 to fund equip­ment that makes the ex­pe­ri­ence more com­fort­able for pa­tients like Mor­ris­sey.


Lisa Mor­ris­sey is the first pa­tient to re­ceive Her­ceptin treat­ments for breast cancer at North Shore Hos­pi­tal.

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