Lynley Bilby

Lynley Bilby is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Lump found day after cancer awareness fundraiser

Emma Crowley, breast cancer survivor, with her daughter Caroline Crowley. Photo / Herald on Sunday /  Michael Craig
Emma Crowley, breast cancer survivor, with her daughter Caroline Crowley. Photo / Herald on Sunday / Michael Craig

One Friday morning, Emma Crowley was eating "pink-themed" cakes and biscuits with work colleagues to raise money for breast cancer.

Less than 24 hours later Crowley, who had organised her office charity fundraiser, found a lump under her arm.

The 24-year-old human resources executive was stricken with an aggressive cancer which had spread through a breast and into lymph nodes.

"The doctor said 'you have cancer' and I was kind of in shock," said Crowley. " I just didn't think it could happen to me."

Within five days of finding the lump Crowley was booked in for chemotherapy treatment and talking with an oncologist.

In the lead up to this year's "Show Your Heart for Women Living with Breast Cancer" campaign, the Breast Cancer Aoteaora Coalition is warning women of all ages to remain vigilant.

The coalition says a third of all breast cancer cases occur in women younger than 45 and those 70 and older, with the disease striking at any age.

Chairwoman Libby Burgess said it's vital women to monitor their breasts for lumps and other symptoms such as a rash or dimpling of the skin, pain and nipple changes.

This year, Arnott's will donate 20 cents to the breast cancer charity from every pack of Tim Tam biscuits sold in Countdown supermarkets between May 12 and June 8.

Renowned New Zealand artist Penny Stotter has also produced a limited edition ceramic plate to give away.

Now, nearly a year-and-a-half after finding the lump under her arm Crowley warns women not to be complacent about breast health.

"Don't be so naïve to think that you're safe or that it won't happen to you. Breast cancer can get you at any age. Be aware and always get any change checked out by your doctor."

To go in to win Penny Stotter's ceramic plate and a year's supply of Tim Tam biscuits visit www.breastcancer.org.nz/show-your-heart or www.facebook.com/BreastCancerAotearoaCoalition or www.facebook.com/ArnottsTimTamNZ .

- Herald on Sunday

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf05 at 23 Oct 2014 22:48:53 Processing Time: 451ms