Connie Wilson has battled and beat cancer while maintaining a positive attitude.
But the Wollongong wife and mother of two is the first to say she couldn’t have done it without the loving support of family and friends.
‘‘We’re a positive family. I didn’t let any negative thoughts come into my head, I’d keep away from negativity,’’ Mrs Wilson said.
She was given the all clear from breast cancer five years after a mastectomy and is encouraging other cancer survivors to attend the Cancer Council’s free Living Well After Cancer program, run by trained volunteers, in Wollongong on October 27.
Cancer survivors will be encouraged to share their experiences and carers, family and friends are welcome.
Cancer Council regional programs co-ordinator Tina Hunt said about 1000 people a year in Wollongong were diagnosed with cancer and more than 60per cent survived.
‘‘Life after cancer can be a confronting and challenging time but it’s important to realise you’re not alone,’’ she said.
Mrs Wilson said survivors underwent emotional and physical changes and after regular treatment stopped it was easy to become fearful.
‘‘It’s good to go along and see people who have been through the journey and see they’re doing well.
‘‘It gives you optimism.’’
Mrs Wilson was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2005 after an ultrasound identified a lump. It was removed but cancer cells remained so the breast was removed.
The diagnosis was a shock because she didn’t feel sick.
‘‘You can’t even feel the lump. I looked well, I felt well, I’ve always looked after myself. There was cancer in my family but not breast cancer.’’
Mrs Wilson volunteers at the Cancer Council Information Centre at Wollongong Hospital. The centre is open 10am-3pm, Monday to Friday.
‘‘I feel if I wake up every day that’s a bonus.’’
Register for Living Well After Cancer by Friday on 1300200558.