Corazon Miller is a NZ Herald reporter

Mum positive despite daunting odds

Cancer patient Jessie Roughan and her daughter Sailor Jean Begovich. Photo / Supplied
Cancer patient Jessie Roughan and her daughter Sailor Jean Begovich. Photo / Supplied

Family and friends are rallying around a Napier mum who is recovering from a double mastectomy.

Jessie Roughan, 36, was diagnosed with cancer after a mammogram detected three separate tumours that had merged into a lump in her left breast.

Scans revealed the cancer was also in the mother-of-one's lymph nodes, though the extent was unclear.

She underwent surgery on Thursday shortly after the scan results were confirmed.

Prior to the medical tests, the mother of Sailor Jean Begovich, 21 months, had considered a double mastectomy after several other members of her family had been diagnosed with cancer.

Ms Roughan will now undergo chemotherapy that could increase her chance of survival at 10 years to 75 per cent.

"I want to do this so I can see my daughter grow up, I want to see her get her first boyfriend ... " she said.

However if the cancer was found to have spread extensively throughout her lymph nodes that figure could be reduced to 60 per cent.

Ms Roughan said the statistics were daunting at times, but she was determined, with the support of family and friends, to stay optimistic in the days ahead.

Ms Roughan said previous genetic testing had revealed a familial predisposition to getting cancer.

One of the more well-known genetic mutations linked with breast cancer is that of the BRCA1 gene - something actress Angelina Jolie has spoken about publicly. She's lost her mother, grandmother and aunt to cancer.

As a result the actress had a mastectomy and hysterectomy as a way of reducing her cancer risk.

Mrs Roughan's own mother was diagnosed with cancer in 2013, her auntie died of the disease when she was in her forties and she knew of a few other female members of her family who'd died from it.

I want to do this so I can see my daughter grow up, I want to see her get her first boyfriend ...
Jessie Roughan

Unfortunately just when she turned up to see her GP, armed with information, her mammogram results revealed the cancer had already taken hold.

Ms Roughan said despite this, she hadn't fully come to terms with the decision to have her breasts removed.

"I wish I could say I'm at peace with it, but I have only known for a month."

Nevertheless she knew it was her best shot at being there when her daughter grew up.

After her mastectomy she planned to have her breasts cremated and buried with her first daughter, who never made it to term, at her family's pa in Tauranga.

Her friend has also set up a Givealittle page to help support her and her young daughter in the months ahead and pay for some additional holistic treatments.

Ms Roughan expressed her gratitude to those who'd offered their love and support.

"I'm so grateful to those who've reached out to help."

To donate go to givealittle.co.nz/cause/jessierangipuhi

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf03 at 29 Sep 2016 02:49:37 Processing Time: 694ms