2 minute read  •  Patient Stories

My partner’s breast cancer changed my life

Mater 406 Min Min 1

“As men, we think we can cope with most things. But when your partner is faced with life-threatening breast cancer, it changes everything.”

At 29, James’ life was going to plan. However, on the eve of their engagement party, his partner Simone found ‘something’ in her breast.

James didn’t think it would be cancer.  But further tests showed that ‘something’ was a 5cm malignant tumour.

“On that day our lives changed forever,” James said. “The life we’d been looking forward to and planning disappeared in a second.”

From here on, things moved fast. Simone’s breast cancer specialist at Mater hospital recommended an immediate lumpectomy procedure, followed by radiation and chemotherapy.

At the same time Simone and James were told the chemotherapy could leave Simone infertile and they were forced to make a decision, then and there, about their family plans.

“This was a pivotal moment that I will never forget,” James said.  “Within days of Simone’s diagnosis, we had to postpone the wedding and decide if we wanted children.
“The pressure on us, a young couple just starting our life together, was huge.

I wanted to be strong for Simone, but the pressure was so overwhelming.  I wasn’t prepared and didn’t know what our future would hold.”

“Watching your partner go through cancer treatment, is one of the hardest things in the world.  The chemotherapy had made her hair fall out, she suffered unpredictable mood swings, and often, I could not even touch or hold her.

Thankfully, for Simone and James that was six years ago.  Since then, Simone has been given the all clear; they have finally tied the knot; and recently begun a family of their own.

“I am so grateful for the medical treatment and support of Mater.  We couldn’t have asked for better. I will be forever thankful for the excellent advice and care.”

Mater Research’s Dr Patricia Carreira’s latest project, is currently exploring how and why breast cancer spreads in a person’s body. Her research aims to identify which cancers are going to metastasise. This could give doctors a better understanding of what makes some cancers spread, and give them the ability to personalise treatment and enhance quality of life for patients like Simone.

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