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Our Cancer Support Services were able to provide Ann Rahn vital support when she needed it most. 

Ann Rahn was packing up her house in Darwin to move to South Hedland, Western Australia for a new job as a registered midwife, when she was suddenly diagnosed with breast cancer in 2021.

It all started when she felt a sore spot in her right breast. She immediatly booked into see her GP who sent her for an urgent mammogram after finding another suspicious lump.

“As I was finishing up in Darwin, my GP said I needed to see a breast surgeon because the mammogram looked like breast cancer. I was on my own as my husband was already in South Hedland working.

I ended up going from Darwin to South Hedland to drop my gear off, then my husband and I drove two and half days down to Rockingham.

Further scans and biopsies revealed suspicious spots in my ribs, so within 10 days I went from having a small sore spot on my right breast to stage three metastatic breast cancer,” Ann shared.

Being new to Western Australia and not knowing anyone or having anywhere to stay, Ann was put in touch with our Pilbara Cancer Support Coordinator, Monica Graham. Monica was able to provide Ann with much needed information, referring her to financial and emotional support services, both in Perth and South Hedland. Monica also referred Ann to our accommodation lodges which are available to regional cancer patients accessing treatment in Perth.

Having somewhere we can come and feel supported, feel cared for during treatment, with or without a carer or partner, just takes so much weight off everyone’s shoulders. I am so grateful to Cancer Council WA for all their assistance and support.

Ann Rahn

Ann underwent six rounds of chemotherapy, surgery and six weeks of radiation.

In January this year she received the amazing news that she was in remission.

Despite being in remission, Ann’s cancer story is not over. Although the 5-year survival rate of breast cancer patients is now great than 90 per cent, Ann’s metastatic breast cancer remains incurable.

Ann travels to Perth and stays at our Lodges every 21 days to access vital treatment.

Sadly it’s inevtiable that Ann’s current treatment will stop working to keep the cancer at bay. That’s why cancer research is so important, to give people like Ann hope of a cancer free future.

Our Cancer Information and Support Services Director, Melanie Marsh, said a cancer diagnosis is an incredibly difficult time with many challenges. For regional cancer patients these challenges are amplified.

“A cancer diagnosis can mark the beginning of a journey full of emotional, physical, financial and practical challenges,” Ms Marsh acknowledged.

“For regional cancer patients, like Ann, this is made even more difficult when you’re suddenly uprooted from your home to access life saving treatment”.

How you can help

We offer a wide range of practical and emotional supports services, cancer-related information, and referral to professional services.

We’re here for all West Australians affected by cancer. But we cannot do it without your support.

Our cancer support services are entirely community-funded, meaning your gift is vital in helping West Australians affected by cancer, like Ann. All gifts over $2 are tax-deductable and if you give before 30 June 2022, you can claim your donation in the upcoming tax return!

For more information