Judith Turner: "I’ve got plenty of years left in me."

Judith Turner had her very last free mammogram when she was 69 and that mammogram picked up breast cancer.

The 71-year-old was diagnosed in February last year and she was immediately scheduled for a mastectomy.

The Northland woman coped well with the surgery, but a mere seven-months later she noticed a lump in her other breast and immediately sought medical advice.

“I felt this lump and I thought that’s strange and it’s sore, so I saw my GP and I had another mammogram and it was Grade 3 cancer so I had another mastectomy.  I went in before Christmas and I was lucky enough to be discharged on Christmas Day,” Judith says.

She was offered chemotherapy and says she didn’t hesitate to say yes to the treatment.

“I was quite shocked to be diagnosed with breast cancer a second time, but I didn’t need to think about the treatment.  I mean I’ve got another 10 or 15 years of life left, why give it away? I want to do everything I can to improve my chances so I can live my life and get back to my art and craft and all the other things I love to do.

“I hear about older women who say they don’t want to do chemotherapy, but I don’t understand that.  Every hour, every day is a precious moment of living so you have to do everything you can to look after yourself and take care of your health.”

Judith says she’s coped “remarkably well” with the chemotherapy treatments and sees them as just twelve weeks out of her otherwise active and full life.

She lost her hair, but has been thrilled with her wig and says she gets lots of compliments on her new hairstyle. 

“I notice people staring at my hair and they say how good I look and I don’t tell them it’s a wig.  I just let them just think it’s my new hairstyle,” she laughs.

Judith has used BCAC’s Step by Step support and information pack throughout her breast cancer journey and says it helped her get through her treatment.

“The Step by Step was primo!  It was absolutely wonderful and I used all the books. I wrote in the journal faithfully every day and I just felt the Step by Step helped to keep me grounded,” she says.

Judith wants other women her age to know that you’re never too old to get breast cancer.

“I believe women tend to think that they won’t get breast cancer as they get older, but you can.  So all women need to be aware of their breasts and any changes in them,” Judith says.

She says the support of her family and friends, lots of outside interests and a positive attitude has helped her cope with her breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.

She hopes that by sharing her story other women will act early on any breast changes.