Like many women with young children, Kristy Talbot didn’t have much time for herself.
But when a friend mentioned going for a mammogram, Kristy decided to get checked. It wasn’t a lump – more like a firmer area in her breast.
Kristy was young and fit and she had no family history of breast cancer. She thought it was nothing to worry about. But it wasn’t.Kristy was diagnosed with breast cancer the day before her 39th birthday.
“I was numb, but I was also crying,” she said about being told she had breast cancer.
Afterwards, Kristy sat in her car trying to take it in. She realised she’d have to tell the people she loved most that she had cancer.
Her mum and dad. Her partner David. Her five-year-old daughter, Eden.
She hadn’t even started treatment yet but telling her family and friends that she had cancer felt like the hardest thing she’d ever have to do.
Cancers like Kristy’s have to be treated aggressively. As Kristy discovered, chemotherapy, surgery and radiotherapy can be extremely tough – physically and emotionally. And they don’t always work.
The only way we can discover new treatments and determine the best treatment for each patient is by funding research. Research that could bring more personalised and targeted cancer treatments that are less physically, emotionally and mentally draining to people like Kristy.
Patients like Kristy know that there won’t be new treatments and cures without research.
With enough support we could fund researchers like Dr Arutha Kulasinghe.
Dr Kulasinghe is working with a new tool known as ‘Spatial Profiling’. It’s almost akin to a Google Maps but for cancer tumours.
“You can walk through a cancer tumour cell by cell,” he explains.
“When we map a cancer tumour individually, we can treat it individually. In this way, Spatial Profiling has the potential to help transform cancer treatment.”
Immunotherapies are targeted cancer treatments that offer some patients a gentler cure than established treatments like chemotherapy. Spatial Profiling offers us the chance to understand which patients will be likely have successful immunotherapy treatment and why. That could then open the door to the development of other targeted treatments.
While Kristy is grateful to be cancer-free at the end of her treatment thanks to the PA. She’s now recovering and slowly resuming her career as a dance teacher, but what she endured won’t leave her memory any time soon.
“It would be great to have options that are going to get rid of the cancer but aren’t going to smash your body,” she says.
Here at the Foundation all we want is to help people like Kristy to have better health outcomes and gentler treatments, but we’ll only get there with research like Dr Kulasinghe’s and the generosity of incredible supporters like you.