BREAST CANCER: BCNA Ambassador, Raelene Boyle.
BREAST CANCER: BCNA Ambassador, Raelene Boyle. Breast Cancer Network Australia

Champion's tips for dealing with life after breast cancer

BREAST CANCER Network Australia ambassador Raelene Boyle AM MBE, has some succinct and poignant messages to share with people in the breast cancer community.

As a breast and ovarian cancer sufferer Ms Boyle has for several years openly taken her experience to the streets, encouraging, sharing and inspiring survivors of these diseases towards a better life.

The multiple medal-winning Olympic and Commonwealth Games runner has also effectively used her public profile to advocate for keeping breast cancer issues in the spotlight.

For survivors

  • Life's short; move forward.
  • Recognise that once diagnosed, life changes and everyone has issues.
  • Also, once you have been diagnosed, you can be facing death, a shorter life, but enjoy the days you have got.
  • Once you've got it and you've had your treatment, look forward, don't look back.
  • Try to deal with things as they happen and not worry about the things you don't know about.
  • Don't create issues that you haven't got.
  • Don't put off tomorrow, what you can do today.

"Over the years I have let go of the small stuff and I have been able to prioritise the important stuff in my life," she said.

Ms Boyle has been knocked around by her breast and ovarian cancers, heart issues and epilepsy, but she said each time she is down, she has got up and looked forward.

It's been 21 years since she was first diagnosed.

"I still suffer fear when it comes up to the next mammogram," an emotional Ms Boyle said.

For partners

Ms Boyle noted that it's hard for partners as survivors often are scared and moody.

She recommends -

  • Go into gently and let the individual have their space.
  • Sometimes it better to not argue, but just give a person a cuddle, and say 'can I get you a cup of tea' or something else.

For both

  • Find a buddy who has been through the same journey that will sit down with you and talk about it.

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