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Sadly, Patricia Mahara has a strong family history of cancer. After losing her mother to breast cancer 20 years ago, Patricia is now facing her own battle with the deadly disease. It’s not something she would wish on her own worst enemy, and yet, Patricia manages to stay incredibly positive, thanks to her strong support networks including Mater Chicks in Pink.
Patricia has undergone surgery and chemotherapy at Mater Cancer Care Centre, and will soon commence 30 rounds of gruelling radiation therapy. As another part of her treatment, Patricia has also joined Mater’s Return to Wellness program recently, to help with her recovery.
Mater’s Return to Wellness program provides breast cancer patients with access to a guided exercise program, assisted by a physiotherapist and breast care nurse. Patients also receive advice about their diet and lifestyle choices to improve their overall health and wellbeing.
“I have noticed a few creaks and cracks in my body from being so unwell. My main goal is to get the use of my arms back so I can return to full time work as a disability support worker,” Patricia said.
“I hope to develop more strength and increase my muscle mass throughout the classes. Learning the gym skills I am taught in the program will give me the confidence to use a private gym once the eight week program is finished.
“The support I have received from Mater during my cancer journey has been incredible. They [Mater staff] are truly focused on keeping us well through our treatment, not just treating the disease itself.”
Not only has Patricia received cancer treatment, but she has also been offered a whole range of other allied health and support services—including dietetics, physiotherapy and psychiatry—and has been connected with Mater Chicks in Pink for specific breast cancer support.
“Mater Chicks in Pink are incredible. I have even received assistance with things like parking. As a single mum who is unable to work during my treatment, this makes the world of difference to me,” Patricia said.
“My care team has also been amazing. My breast care nurses, Jen and Michelle, are so kind and compassionate—they have so many patients yet they treat all of us like we’re the most important person in the world.
“I am grateful to my oncologist Dr Kathryn Middleton and my surgeon Dr Jason Lambley. The team of specialists at Mater Cancer Care Centre do an amazing job to support all patients through extremely challenging obstacles. We owe them so much respect, especially continuing to work during the COVID-19 pandemic. So thank you to all the staff at the Mater Hospital.”
For Patricia, her cancer journey has also been marked with additional fear and uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This has been an incredibly difficult time, as going through cancer normally would be a rough journey, but to do it during a global health pandemic has been extremely scary, as your immune system is so low,” Patricia said.
Patricia is looking forward to participating in Return to Wellness classes while undergoing her radiation treatment.
“The team have been great. They have scheduled my radiation appointments around the exercise classes, so I will be able to do both in the same day. I am hoping the classes will keep me fit and strong while I am doing radiation,” Patricia said.
Your support of Mater Cars for Cancer is helping fund vital research in the fight against breast cancer. You are helping to fund research like Dr Carreira’s— she is investigating jumping genes, seeking to uncover why jumping genes become active during cancer and how their activation affects cancer progression.
Because of you, Mater researchers are working towards breakthroughs in research to help future patients like Patricia. You are also helping her today as your support makes Mater’s Return to Wellness program possible. Thank you for helping improve patients lives.