October marks Breast Cancer Awareness month, a time to raise awareness and funding for the Breast Cancer Foundation. With the help of donations the Breast Cancer Foundation is able to make a difference to the lives of thousands of kiwi women each year.
It is through the Breast Cancer Foundation as well as the Cancer Society that Ormiston Hospital’s CEO and breast cancer survivor, Vivian Blake, was able to get the support she needed. Vivian was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013 and is an advocate for women who are going through this traumatic time, some of whom are treated at Ormiston Hospital.
Not all breast cancer can be picked up by a mammogram screening, and due to concerns about her own family’s history with cancer Vivian saw a specialist breast surgeon for further testing. “My GP referred me onto a breast surgeon, who performed further testing which I believe saved my life”, explained Vivian.
Having older sisters who had experienced breast cancer Vivian was well aware of her risks. Understanding genetics and family history can ensure that the next generation is not affected and is an important part of raising awareness, Vivian explained; “I’ve always made sure my daughter understands the importance of having a regular mammogram.”
“Making the right decisions early can save you down the track. I encourage people to take control of their health and manage your own path”, says Vivian about reflecting on her diagnosis.
Under the expert care of a breast surgeon, Vivian was sent for an ultrasound, MRI and then had further biopsies. Once the lumps were detected she was able to have surgery. During this journey the Cancer Society provides patients (including Vivian) with a huge support network.
Ormiston Hospital has a range of expert breast surgeons who are available for a private consultation with GP referral. This includes experienced surgeon David Moss, who has treated many patients at Ormiston Hospital when surgery is necessary. Ormiston Hospital provides a caring and comfortable environment to breast cancer patients because we understand how important the hospital experience is in each patient’s journey to recovery.
Vivian continues to live a full life as a breast cancer survivor, and is even a member of the Pink Dragons – read more about their team on our website. “There is always an anxiety it could come back, but I don’t let that influence how I live my life”, she says.