Leslie Gilham, Breast Cancer Clinical Trial Participant, Australia & New Zealand Breast Cancer Trials Group

Breast cancer came from out of the blue for me in 2009.

I actually went with a girlfriend to provide moral support when she had a mammogram and realised that I hadn’t had a check myself.

That night when I arrived home, I did my own breast examination and found a lump.

Over the next several weeks, I went through a rollercoaster of emotions as various tests were carried out. But the worst part was telling my husband and my kids.

By talking with friends and other families, we soon came to realise just how many people are affected by breast cancer. But knowing that there was support out there, did provide some comfort for my family.

Through speaking with my doctor and other women diagnosed with breast cancer, I know the improvements that have occurred in treatments in just the last 5-10 years alone. 

So I decided to participate in a clinical trial to not only help women today but to also help future generations. I would never want my kids to have to go through what I did.

Breast cancer clinical trials have improved survival rates by more than 20% in the last 20 years and I know that I have benefited from the contribution of women who have participated in clinical trials before me.

It does feel good to know that our collective involvement can make a significant impact. It also helped me turn what was a negative experience into one where I am helping others. In my experience, there are a lot of supportive girlfriends out there!

This year, 42 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer every day in Australia. It’s a sobering statistic and clearly demonstrates why we need to continue clinical trials research into the future.

I hope that through my participation, and the participation of thousands of women across Australia, we can help improve outcomes for women affected by breast cancer.