“Our happiness bubble suddenly popped”: Giles Purbrick’s blood cancer diagnosis, days after becoming a father
In January 2020, Giles and wife Jacqui welcomed their baby daughter into the world. But just days later, Giles was hit with a shock blood cancer diagnosis that turned everything on its head.
After a few years of failed IVF and other treatments, Giles Purbrick and his wife Jacqui were thrilled to finally become parents after giving birth to their “golden child” on New Year’s Day in 2020.
“I had recently started a new job and was excited about pursuing fresh career opportunities. I’d also just completed the Melbourne marathon. So, on the face of it, life was good and full of promise,” Giles says.
But a week later, Giles and Jacqui...
A month after her 50th birthday in 2010, Heather received her bowel cancer screening kit in the mail. After a year, Heather decided to take the test and soon received the test results which were positive. After a colonoscopy and a CT scan, the diagnosis was clear: stage three bowel cancer.
Everything moved fast from there, a week after results came back in the mail, Heather was in hospital for surgery. "I really had no time to think and process” she says. “I’m a very 'positive person and I just wanted to get on with it. And felt really lucky that I had caught it so early.” After surgery, Heather went through five months of chemotherapy as part of a clinical trial. After some issues with her pacemaker, she stopped the trial and received...
In July 2020, at the age of 42, Nine Newsreader Will McDonald was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer after developing a pain in his hip.
When diagnosed, specialists found that the cancer had already spread outside the prostate to his left hip.
Being diagnosed with aggressive cancer at such a young age came as a complete shock.
“My dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2019 at the age of 75. They found his relatively early and he’s back to full health now,” says Will.
“After dad was diagnosed, I knew that I had an increased risk of prostate cancer – but to be diagnosed so soon was a lot to take in.
“But just days after my prostate cancer diagnosis, I made the decision to do everything I possibly can to stay positive, strong and...
I presented to my GP in July 2019 with a sudden and persistent change of bowel habits (basically some diarrhoea that hung around for a week or so).
Over the next three months, I had a few blood tests, a stool test, and a colonoscopy, after which I was met in recovery by the surgeon.
He told me he had found a mass in the bowel, and there were some query spots in the liver.
I was sent immediately for a CT scan and then sat in the same surgeon’s office, three days before turning 40, to be told I had Stage 4 metastatic bowel cancer.
Due to the 21 bi-lobar mets in my liver, I was told it was ‘unresectable’ and so I was to start palliative chemotherapy within three weeks.
One week later, in went the port-a-cath, and then one week after that I...
Lymphoedema is a chronic condition for which there is no cure and for which there are no pharmacological treatment agents available. Once established lymphoedema often negatively affects a person’s quality of life, physical function, body image and puts them at high risk of developing serious medical issues such as cellulitis infections.
Breast Lymphoedema is becoming an issue for cancer survivors. It has been found that 24.8% of patients undergoing breast conserving surgery and radiation develop breast edema in the first 18 months post breast cancer diagnosis. Research also finds that breast edema is correlated with breast pain, reduced quality of life, reduced physical function, poor body image and can impact negatively on sexuality.
Lifelong cricket fan, Terry, has watched the McGrath Foundation grow ever since the first Pink Test in 2009, but he never thought he would need the support of a McGrath Breast Care Nurse himself. Sadly, the 76-year-old was one of the estimated 212 men diagnosed with breast cancer in Australia every year and he found out first-hand how vital their support is. Not only was Terry’s diagnosis unusual but how he found out was also uncommon. It was thanks to a prostate cancer diagnosis.
“Early in November 2021, my wife found a lump on my breast. The doctors sent me for an ultrasound and it came back as hard, fatty tissue. There was no issue,” Terry says. “Then in December, I had some tests because my PSA (prostate-specific antigen) levels were...
Andrea was just 51 years old when she was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer.
“It was a huge shock. The day after my diagnosis I had to ring my doctor’s office so I could double check that the results were accurate, I was just that incredulous,” said Andrea.
Prior to her diagnosis, Andrea was undergoing emergency surgery for a hernia that was blocking her bowel. After the surgery, Andrea noticed a lump protruding from her stomach, which, three months later, had not improved.
To investigate further, Andrea was sent for a CA125 test — a blood test that looks for a protein that can be produced by ovarian cancer cells. The results showed elevated levels of the cancer-causing protein which encouraged her treatment team to investigate...
Dry July ambassadors for the RMH returned to the Parkville campus this month to celebrate the opening of a new hub supporting our cancer patients.
The Nutrition and Head and Neck Respite Hub provides a private space for cancer patients who, because of their treatment, are unable to consume their foods orally. Patients can use the space while they complete their nasal or tube feeding, and to clean their equipment.
The development of the hub, located near the atrium at the Grattan St entrance, was supported through Dry July fundraising, which encourages individuals to go alcohol-free for a month to raise funds for people affected by cancer.
Among the special guests at the opening were Steve and Robyn Mahoney.
Steve and Robyn did not know...
27-year-old Beth Gilmore stretchered onto a plane to Brisbane after a shock blood cancer diagnosis.
Just days after a routine blood test, Beth Gilmore was told that she had acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) and was stretchered onto a plane bound for Brisbane for emergency treatment – not knowing when she’d see her partner, friends or family again.
In September 2022, things were looking up for 27-year-old Beth Gilmore. She recently graduated from university and settled into a new home to begin her promising career in teaching.
“I had recently completed my Bachelor in Teaching and had moved to a small town to begin my career. I just returned from a holiday to New Zealand and was excited to plan my next adventure”, Beth says.
But upon her return...