Deb Campbell speaks about cancer diagnosis

Deb Campbell. Photo: supplied.

Deb Campbell. Photo: supplied.

Deb Campbell says a diagnosis of cancer should focus on the mental health of a person as well as the physical healing.

Deb was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006 as a 50-year-old.

"I was very healthy as I was going to the gym three or four times a week and also walking," she said.

Since the age of 45 Deb has undergone an annual mammogram screening.

"I usually got a letter every year to say that everything was fine, however that year I didn't get one," she said.

Deb went back in to undergo another screening and an ultrasound. She was told she had malignant breast cancer.

"I was very upset, lucky I had my husband with me," she said.

After further tests, Deb's cancer was found to have spread to her lymph nodes.

Deb started her treatment in Sydney, as radiology wasn't available in Port Macquarie at the time.

Soon after starting treatment, Deb said she fell into a black hole and struggled to cope with day to day life.

Deb's husband told her 'if you think you're dying today then you've lost today already'.

Her family convinced Deb to seek support and she joined the cancer survivors group in Port Macquarie.

"A light came on for me because I met other women who had lived through it," she said.

Bringing home the glory: Camden Haven Dragon Boaters with their medals from the 2012 Pan Pacific Games. Pictured are Phil Higgins, Geoff Roberts, Jim Forbes, Jenny Higgins, Marion Roberts, Deb Campbell, Kathy Fry.

Bringing home the glory: Camden Haven Dragon Boaters with their medals from the 2012 Pan Pacific Games. Pictured are Phil Higgins, Geoff Roberts, Jim Forbes, Jenny Higgins, Marion Roberts, Deb Campbell, Kathy Fry.

Deb also joined the Camden Haven Dragonboat Club's Can Survive group.

"It's not only for people who have breast cancer but any kind of diagnosis," she said.

Deb found a sense of belonging through forming close friendships with other members of the group.

She loves being able to travel overseas and within Australia to competitions.

The group also raises money for people in the community who need support.

Deb said it's very rewarding to see the smiles on the faces of those they help.

While Deb has now been in remission for 13 years, she stresses the importance of undertaking regular screenings.

She said it's important for people who are diagnosed to seek support wherever they can.

Deb thanked her family, friends and the wider community for the help they offered her through her cancer journey.

Mid North Coast Local Health District (MNCLHD) shief executive Stewart Dowrick said lessening the impact of cancer on people in NSW remains a top priority.

"In 2019, more than 1864 people on the Mid North Coast will be told they have cancer and there will be more than 641 cancer deaths," he said.

"However, survival has continued to improve for most cancers, as has the number of people taking part in life-saving cancer screening."

For 24 hour support people can contact Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14.

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