In the end, Lyndall Slack was surprised at how easy it was to talk about her cancer ordeal with 11-year-old daughter Montana.
The 42-year-old from Albion Park just wishes her own mother had opened up to her when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
‘’My mum went through it and now I’m going through it and I just want to make sure my daughter has all the information she needs in terms of breast health,’’ Ms Slack said.
‘’The information and cartoon type literature the McGrath Foundation provided helped. Montana didn’t really have many questions for me. I think the information helped her understand what I was going through.’’
Opting for a double mastectomy was also an easy decision for the mother of two.
But it only came after two lumpectomy operations, a 20-week bout of chemo and ending up in hospital with Febrile Nutropenia.
I had no white cells. I had an infection but we didn’t know where the infection was coming from and I had a fever of over 38 degrees.- Lyndall Slack
‘’I had no white cells. I had an infection but we didn’t know where the infection was coming from and I had a fever of over 38 degrees,’’ Ms Slack said.
‘’To add to this I then had to make the decision of whether I started radiation therapy or whether I had a mastectomy.’’
The fact radiation didn’t work for her mother and wanting to be around for her kids prompted Ms Slack to opt for a skin-sparing mastectomy.
‘’I thought if [radiation] it didn’t work for my mum, is it going to work for me,’’ she said.
‘’I know these days it's very rare for someone to die of breast cancer but I thought I’ve got a young daughter, I’ve got a young family, my two kids need me, and I need to be here for them, so the decision was made very easy.’’
There is a history of breast cancer in her family but Ms Slack’s diagnoses about 10 months ago still came as a shock.
‘’I went home and told mum. Only two weeks before that my dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer, so the whole family has just been knocked around from it really,’’ she said.
McGrath Foundation encourages mothers to talk to their daughters about breast health to improve early detection of breast cancer.
Results of the second annual McGrath Breast Health Index, published this week, revealed mother daughter conversations are vital for action on breast health.
Almost three quarters (73 per cent) of Australian women believe they are breast aware, yet fewer than one in five (16 per cent) fulfil the four criteria to be classified a ‘breastpert’.- McGrath Foundation
For the second year running the results showed a disconnect between belief and reality when it comes to the nation’s breast health.
Almost three quarters (73 per cent) of Australian women believe they are breast aware, yet fewer than one in five (16 per cent) fulfil the four criteria to be classified a ‘breastpert’ – awareness, confidence in recognising changes in the breast, knowledge of risk factors for breast cancer, and behaviour in terms of frequency of checking.
‘’At the McGrath Foundation we say ’if you grow them, know them’ and these findings indicate that mothers have a crucial role to play in educating the next generation about breast health,’’ McGrath Foundation mission programmes director Jane Mahony said.