Liliana, of Petersham, was finishing her nursing degree when her GP noticed a lump in her right breast.
“I took it seriously to a point but, not having a history of breast cancer in my family, I thought it was going to be OK.”
A mammogram and CAT scan at the Royal Prince Alfred hospital were ordered. In March 2014 Liliana underwent a lumpectomy with a surgeon removing two of the three lumps that had been discovered. A biopsy of the lumps returned negative results for breast cancer.
“One lump was left behind as it was in an awkward position and the surgeons were, at that point, certain it was not cancerous.”
A month later on ANZAC Day Liliana broke and dislocated her leg, requiring surgery.
“I ended up with six screws and a plate in my leg. I was also using anticoagulants so that delayed the surgery to remove the lump left behind in my breast.”
Life went on and Liliana started her new graduate RN position at a hospital she liked, but the lump kept growing and her surgeon was concerned. In March 2015, Liliana underwent a partial mastectomy.
“The lump had grown and was in a very awkward spot, hence the need for a mastectomy. But as the biopsy had come back negative for cancer we were hoping that would be the end of it.”
It wasn’t. In July 2015 a biopsy was performed on the remaining lump, finding it to be cancerous. Liliana returned to hospital on 31 July 2015 for a total mastectomy and insertion of a tissue expander for reconstruction.
“There was plenty of good news. It was an encapsulated type (DCIS) of breast cancer and had not spread to the lymph nodes. All tissue was removed so there was no need for chemotherapy or radiation.”
For the 47- year-old, monitoring will continue to ensure she remains cancer-free.
Get in touch with the friendly team at Cancer Council NSW if you need cancer information or support.