Always fit and healthy, 56-year-old Deb Holsman never thought she would be diagnosed with breast cancer, let alone one of the most heartbreaking forms of the disease.

Last year Deb was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer, an aggressive breast cancer type that affects around 15 per cent of those diagnosed and currently has no targeted treatment.

Lucky for Deb, early detection saved her life, but many women are not as lucky. Research is crucial to develop a targeted therapy for women who like Deb are diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in the future.

Please donate today to support lifesaving research to save more lives like Deb’s.

“I had my annual mammogram in May last year and received a recall from Breast Screen SA to come in and have a biopsy. I didn’t think much of it as I previously had a lump in my left breast which was diagnosed as a cluster of cysts. I just presumed it was that,” Deb said.

“When my husband and I received the results, that I had breast cancer, I was absolutely shocked. I hadn’t even thought that it may be breast cancer.

“I thought, I’m 57-years-old. I’m still young. I still have plenty of time left in me and I certainly wasn’t willing to think that was the end.

“My saving grace was that my cancer was caught early.”

Having three daughters and five grandchildren of her own, Deb said one of the hardest parts of her diagnosis was breaking the news to her beloved family.

“When I had to tell my family they were all devastated. It was probably one of the worst things I’ve had to do emotionally, but you’re trying to stay strong for them because you’re the mum.”

Being an extremely fast growing breast cancer, from the moment of her diagnosis, Deb’s life became a whirlwind of treatments and appointments to get on top of her cancer as quickly as possible.

“I underwent over five months of chemotherapy, I then had a break to recover before having surgery in December and following that four weeks of radiotherapy.

“After all this I still had some pathology showing which is why I’ve now started six months of oral chemotherapy which is supposed to help with my long-term survival.”

Living in Whyalla, Deb travelled back and forth to Adelaide to take part in a clinical trial along with undergo surgery and radiotherapy. Fortunately, during her radiotherapy treatment she was able to stay in our Under Our Roof homes, providing her with a comfortable home away from home during a difficult time.

“I am so grateful we were able to stay in the Under Our Roof home. Being from the country and knowing the resources available for country cancer patients is limited, this project has such an amazing impact on people’s lives.

“Having the Under Our Roof house meant all our family could come stay with us, there wasn’t any financial burden for them either to sort out accommodation in Adelaide.”

Now feeling like she’s slowly getting back to her old self, Deb will continue to support research, confident one day a new treatment for triple negative breast cancer will be an option for women like her.

“Being a nurse, I see first-hand how cancer impacts families and I’ve always been an advocate for research. Hopefully one day they’ll be able to treat cancer just like any other disease.”

Will you join us help people who are affected by cancer? Your generous donation will save more lives.  

Read about lifesaving research underway at the Centre for Cancer Biology dedicated to creating a new treatment for triple negative breast cancer, for women like Deb.

help create a new treatment for triple negative breast cancer, for women like Deb.

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