Let's get on with it

A CURE is yet to be found but Denise Roberts knows goodwill is combating the impact of breast cancer. After battling it a second time this year, Ms Roberts experienced first-hand the improvement fund-raising efforts had made to the treatment and recovery process since her first diagnosis in 2004.

Inspired by Ms Roberts' initial brave encounter with breast cancer, her daughter, Toni Roberts, began hosting an annual morning tea event at Silver Spur in Penrith to raise money for the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

On Saturday, Toni will lead this year's fund-raiser with Ms Roberts, who is feeling "well and healthy", at her side.

"The first time I was diagnosed they had wonderful treatments and I managed to survive seven years without a recurrence," Ms Roberts said.

"After I was diagnosed again, the difference I noticed in the treatment and facilities was absolutely wonderful and I know the research came from money raised through events like these."

Following her first diagnosis, Ms Roberts had a mastectomy and chemotherapy. She beat the cancer and was "living my life perfectly happily" until a routine mammogram revealed some "very inconvenient" news about six months ago.

"After I had a mastectomy I thought OK, there's no breast tissue there, you can't get breast cancer but that wasn't the case because it returned in the same place. Apparently, that's reasonably unusual and it was a shock but I was aware of what had to happen and I knew I'd survived before. I think my words to my surgeon while I was on the operating table were 'Let's just get on with it and get the little bugger out'."

As co-ordinator of the Penrith Disabilities Resource Centre in Penrith, Ms Roberts has watched many people overcome hardship and she said she wouldn't let her breast cancer ordeals slow her down despite the fact "you're never in the clear".

"While it's not pleasant it's something you do, you finish and then life resumes — that's my experience of it," she said. "I've worked for many decades with people with disabilities and there are so many within the Nepean region that are in really dire circumstances.

"It's those people who give me the strength to get on with things as quickly as I can — they face things of much more gravity than my breast cancer."

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