Victorian mum encourages doctor visits after early cancer detection saves life

Cancer Council Victoria’s latest lifesaving campaign urges all eligible Victorians to get up to date with cancer screening and seek medical support if they’ve noticed changes to their health.

Cancer Council Victoria’s latest lifesaving campaign urges all eligible Victorians, including those from Melton and Moorabool, to get up to date with cancer screening and seek medical support if they’ve noticed changes to their health.

The call follows data revealing that Victorians are still lagging with preventative health checks since the pandemic.

Cancer Council Victoria’s Victorian Cancer Registry (VCR) showed that there were 3,864 fewer cancer diagnoses than expected over 2020 and 2021.

Experts are concerned that cancer diagnoses are projected to increase 43 per cent over the next 15 years if urgent action isn’t taken.

Of those missing cancers, it is estimated that there have been 396 fewer diagnoses of breast cancer over 2020 and 2021, with breast cancer one of the top five types of cancers which saw

the greatest decline in diagnoses during the coronavirus pandemic, along with bowel, blood, prostate and melanoma.

Victorian mother of two Nicola Iglicki noticed a lump in her breast in November 2021 and immediately booked an appointment with her doctor for the following day.

“I thought I had imagined the lump and kept thinking this couldn’t be happening to me,” she said.

“But I soon realised I wasn’t imagining it; the lump was hard and mobile. My husband Ben, who is in the medical field, insisted we see a doctor immediately.

“The next day I saw my doctor who immediately booked a mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy.”

Nicole was diagnosed with stage 1, grade 3 breast cancer and was grateful to how quickly her doctor and broader medical team acted.

Now, Ms Iglicki is urging other Victorians to act if they notice a change in their health or body.

“I am so grateful for my amazing team of doctors, and at the speed in which they were able to arrange my tests, surgery and treatment plan. I began my chemotherapy when Covid

restrictions were in place and while I couldn’t have my family with me, my team of health professionals were so supportive,” she said.

“My medical team continued to reinforce that had I not followed my gut instinct and sought immediate medical attention, the outcome could have been very different. I want others to know that if they notice a change in their body or something doesn’t seem right, please see a doctor and get it checked out. It really could save your life.”

Cancer Council Victoria chief executive Todd Harper said this immediate action taken by Mrs Iglicki likely saved her life or at least minimised the degree of invasive treatment she’d need.

“We know the earlier cancer is found, the better our chances of treating it and the patient making a full recovery. It’s so important we check our bodies for signs of cancer and see a doctor immediately if we notice any changes,” he said.

“In Australia we are lucky to have three National Cancer Screening Programs that detect signs of bowel, breast and cervical cancer before any noticeable symptoms occur. If you are due for these tests don’t delay.”

This urgent reminder from Cancer Council Victoria is part of their latest campaign funded by the Victorian Department of Health to support Victorians and lessen the impacts of cancer.

Victorian general practitioner Dr Justin Tse is one of many health professionals featured in the new Early Detection campaign and is reassuring patients that doctors and health professionals

want to see you.

“We want our patients to know that we have time to support them if they notice any changes to their body. Changes could be on their skin or after doing a breast check at home, or it could be

pain, loss of appetite or feeling more tired,” he said.

“I hope that for people who see this campaign and who may have felt like they would be a burden to the health system, or their symptom isn’t significant enough to book an appointment, that is not the case. Health professionals are here for you.”

Learn more about cancer symptoms and cancer screening at Cancer Council Victoria Early Detection Saves Lives website.