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Monday 29 April, 2013



Professor Bruce Mann (Specialist breast surgeon): One of the really important things about breast cancer is it often affects women aged between say 40 and 60, and those women are almost always someone's wife, someone's mother, someone's daughter.

Each year almost 3,800 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in Victoria. Almost 3,800 unique women with unique stories.

Bernadette Blair-Slater: I think the day of the diagnosis was really quite difficult. The only thing I had in the back of my head was, "How am I going to tell my children?" I was prepared to do anything, I didn't care what I had to go through, so long as I was well. And I told Bruce that and he sort of laughed and said, "You know, I think we've got other alternatives we can start looking at." And he then started to speak to me about the trial.

Professor Mann: A trial that a group of us here has initiated is a trial known as PROSPECT. It's really hoping to extend the tailoring of treatment cutting the treatment to suit the individual and it comes from whether we can identify some patients who are adequately treated with surgery alone to the breast, rather than the standard approach where almost everyone is recommended to have radiotherapy after the surgery.

Bernadette: That appealed to me because we'd lost my husband, and their father, through the complications of cancer. His body just hadn't been able to withstand the side effects of radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

Simon Blair-Slater: It was tough to find out that mum had been diagnosed, but having no radiotherapy on the table for me was a big thing. Having gone through it with Dad when I was much younger, it was certainly a lot more comforting.

Professor Mann: Radiotherapy is an essential part of cancer treatment. If the treatment is having a definite benefit then I would fully recommend it. However, if we can show that the treatment's not needed, then it would be very good to be able to spare a number of patients from the need to go through it.

Bernadette: There are days now most of the time I just forget that I've only had the operation. I'm very happy to be part of the trial because I just think that this work is so incredibly important. It offers a choice to hundreds of thousands of women worldwide. Why would you opt for invasive treatment if you could possibly be perfectly well without it.

Women should have the opportunity for a more personalised, less invasive treatment of breast cancer. Donate now and help make this trial a reality for more mothers and daughters across Australia.

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