Broome resident and breast cancer awareness champion Lucianne Vandelaur is urging local women to react quickly to unusual body changes and to listen to their bodies this Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The 50-year-old medical scientist said she could have probably avoided chemotherapy, had she not ignored early symptoms of her cancer. “My partner noticed a lump in my breast when I was in my early 40s, but I dismissed his concerns,” she said. “As someone who tested biopsies for a living, I had a gut feeling about what the lump was but chose to do nothing due to an intense fear of having a biopsy taken. “A couple of years later, I noticed a pain in my right breast and again, due to lack of courage, I once again ignored the symptom. “Finally, after about six months, the pain escalated to the point that I made an appointment with my GP. I had also been feeling extremely fatigued and thought it may have been a problem with my thyroid.” Lucianne’s GP was so concerned about the lump she sent her to Perth the following day for an ultrasound. In January 2019, at age 46, Lucianne was diagnosed with an aggressive form of hormone receptor positive breast cancer. “I underwent a huge amount of surgery and chemotherapy and was told I wouldn’t have needed chemo if the breast cancer was caught earlier, when I first noticed the lump in my early 40s,” she said. “Please go and get checked out straight away. I am a case study of what not to do.” Cancer Council WA cancer education and screening manager Melissa Treby said being breast aware and knowing what changes to look out for could help find breast cancer early, which increases the chance of successful treatment. “Our latest data shows that in 2019, 1890 females in WA were diagnosed making breast cancer responsible for almost a third of all cancer cases diagnosed in women, and 252 females in WA died from the disease,” she said. “If you’re unsure about a possible symptom you should make an appointment to discuss the changes with your doctor, clinic nurse or Aboriginal health workers as soon as possible.” Everyone’s breasts are different. It is important that you get to know what your breast look and feel like, so you know what is normal for you.” Breast Cancer Awareness Month runs throughout October.