As Sharon Cousins approached her 50th birthday in October last year she thought it might be a good idea to have a mammogram.
She had never had one, but with no history of breast cancer in her family she wasn't expecting anything to show up.
Tests revealed she had what the doctors call grade three aggressive ductal carcinoma in-situ, and was advised she would need a mastectomy.
"Because I didn't have any private health insurance I thought 'crap, I'm going to be on a waiting list'," Mrs Cousins said.
"But they said 'no, you're going to get this done. You're going to get the chop, asap'."
As cancer was detected in one of her lymph nodes Mrs Cousins underwent chemotherapy as well, although she decided against having radiation therapy.
"What they call it in the trade is the slash, the poison and the burn," she said.
"The slash is the mastectomy/lumpectomy, the poison is the chemo, and the burn is the radiation.
"I decided I didn't want radiation. They were a little bit sceptical."
A year on from that first mammogram, the chemo treatment has finished, her hair is growing back and there are no signs of cancer, although she still has some cosmetic surgery to get through.
With Monday being Breast Cancer Day, and with statistics showing that one in eight Australian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, Mrs Cousins was keen to share her story with others and pass on some of what she had learnt.
She said that being as well-informed as possible was a big help in her fight against the disease and she lauded the work of groups like the Breast Cancer Network Australia that provide information and support to those going through breast cancer treatment.
"I am one of those people who would rather be prepared," she said.
"Information is very important. Getting knowledge makes you far more empowered.
"Obviously information and family support and support from friends is important, but having someone who has been through it and can tell you what to expect is invaluable," she said.
"I had an old friend, a nurse, who had gone through it, she had a lumpectomy. She was 18 months ahead of me and she's been telling me all the things to expect. She's been mentoring me."
If you or someone you care about has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, contact Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA) for a My Journey Kit, a free information resource for newly diagnosed women - 1800 500 258 or bcna.org.au