FOR Mosman Park mother Alison Davis, her sister’s breast cancer diagnosis potentially saved her life.
In early 2011, Ms Davis had just turned 40 and was busy raising three young daughters with husband Dan Rohr when their world was turned upside down.
“My sister’s breast cancer nurse recommended my other two sisters and I go and get mammograms,” she said.
“I took my then two-year-old along and just did it because I thought I should.
“It turned out I had ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), which is a very early form of breast cancer.”
Shocked by the unexpected diagnosis, Ms Davis underwent a double mastectomy soon after.
“All of a sudden I was madly researching the odds of having just one breast removed rather than two,” she said.
“But the answer was very clear to me. I couldn’t make risky decisions; I have young children.”
Ms Davis said what happened after shocked her whole family.
“In the next 12 months, my aunt and three cousins were also diagnosed with breast cancer,” she said.
“We all had different treatments – I was lucky I didn’t have to have chemotherapy, but we all had double mastectomies.
“We had genetic testing done and it turns out we have a genetic abnormality which is something passed down in our case from father to daughter.”
Mr Rohr described the diagnoses as “wreaking havoc on the family”.
“It has been hugely traumatic; cancer is so brutal,” Mr Rohr said.
“You think it’ll never happen to you because we’re healthy, relatively young and never had any medical issues in either of our families.
“Then you get the phone call and it’s like you’ve been run over by a freight train.
“We are well aware that our three girls will potentially have to go through similar experiences, and it’s something you wouldn’t wish on anyone.”
In support of breast cancer research, Mr Rohr has teamed up with the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) for their Real Men Wear Pink campaign.
“The campaign is all about raising money to help with breast cancer research, and just the leaps and bounds early detection and treatment has improved in saving and improving the lives of those with breast cancer over the past 20 years,” he said.
“If you look forward over the next 20 years what could be possible, hopefully a cure isn’t out of the question.
“If Al’s sister didn’t get picked up, she probably wouldn’t have got picked up till much later and it may have been a much different outcome.
“Luckily the technology was good enough to detect it, because 10 years ago it may not have been good enough and it may have sat in there for another couple of years.”
Now in good health, Ms Davis shows her appreciation to the NBCF by offering her time as a speaker at events, as well as taking part in fundraising activities.