In Australia, breast cancer is most prevalent among women aged 65-69, but at 46, Worrigee’s Janine Adams knows all too well the disease doesn’t discriminate.
Janine was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer in November.
“I met a girl (with breast cancer) who also worked in Nowra, she’s only 25,” Janine said.
“It’s so scary in Nowra because every time I went for chemotherapy or radiation there were new faces.”
However it is not fear that compels Janine, and many of the people in her network who are battling cancer.
“Losing my hair, that was horrendous, but you have to be positive otherwise you sit down and cry,” she said.
“There are so many people facing the same battle, we all come together during radiation, and try to be positive.”
The diagnosis was a complete shock that affected immediate change on her life.
“I felt no lump, I didn’t feel sick, I just felt tired, I’d been going to the doctor for that,” Janine said.
“You think you’re never going to get breast cancer or it’s never going to be you, but it was.”
Janine quit work and her husband, who has been her rock, started working weekends to make ends meet.
“My year has been hell to say the least,” Janine said.
“Having to give up my job was just awful, I’d been there 17 years.
“In saying that, my bosses have kept my job open until I can come back, it means a lot.”
Janine has endured six months of chemo, and a month of radiation therapy.
“Radiation burns your skin, it makes you really tired, and I felt shocking,” she said.
“The chemo is draining, I’ve been lucky the cancer place is in Nowra.”
Blood tests indicate the treatment has been working, but she won’t know definitively for six months.
Janine owes much to the Breast Cancer Network, a group that lobbied the government to place a $5000 cancer drug on the Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme.
She requires an injection of it every three weeks.
“If it wasn’t on the PBS I would probably have to sell my house,” she said.
“You don’t want to be sick and have that extra burden of having to sell a house.”
She has launched a fundraising campaign, and hopes to raise more than $3000 for the Breast Cancer Network.
Janine has her sights set on skydiving with other cancer survivors in Wollongong in February, 2018, and must raise at least $1200 to do so.
To make a donation click here.