An avid hiker and alcohol free for nearly eight years, Danny never expected to have breast cancer. But in late 2019, the unexpected became reality, when what Danny thought was a benign cyst in his chest was officially diagnosed as breast cancer.
Danny, 46 years old, has always lived a busy and active lifestyle, living by the beach in Rye and spending time with his family and friends. For years there had been a small lump in the left side of his chest, which he had had checked out previously and was dismissed as nothing to worry about. When he was back at the doctor a few years later, Danny thought he may as well get it looked at again while he was there, eventually leading to an ultrasound and biopsy.
It was on Christmas Eve in 2019 that his GP called to tell him the devastating news that he had breast cancer. Danny immediately launched into twelve months of treatment, including chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery to remove lymph nodes. Unfortunately, 12 months later there was a recurrence of the cancer in his bones, with oligometastatic disease in his shoulder blade and hip. Metastatic breast cancer is when the primary cancer has spread beyond the breast. Oligometastatic disease is when there is a low disease burden, with the presence of between one and five metastases (lesions, spots or tumours) only.
Danny has a very positive mindset and has benefitted from the evolving treatment landscape for metastatic breast cancer. “I only had two small spots on bones which have been treated with local therapies. I hang on to hope that I’ll be cured, and in fact I believe very strongly that I will be one day.”
While no cancer experience is easy, Danny has been determined to keep living life as he always has. Just recently he completed the Overland Track in Tasmania with his daughter, a feat not for the faint of heart. Danny has also been alcohol free for nearly eight years and believes he is in a much better state to handle his breast cancer because of it.
After his cancer recurrence, Danny was introduced to Metastatic McGrath Breast Care Nurse Jenny, who has been there to guide him through his treatment. Jenny has answered any questions he has, helped schedule appointments, and decoded complex medical advice - so that Danny can focus on living his life with his family.
Metastatic McGrath Breast Care Nurse Jenny on Danny
Jenny met Danny in mid-2021, when his cancer had metastasised and he was dealing with a life-long prognosis. Despite the shock of his cancer recurring, Jenny was impressed with how Danny has taken everything in his stride and participates whole heartedly in his care.
“He’s a real thinker. Danny always likes to be well informed every step of the way and I’m glad I can be there to answer his questions. He’s not letting the cancer slow him down. He even did the Overland Track while on oral chemotherapy, the first of my patients to have ever done that, that’s for sure!”