Personal Cancer Stories

Knowing about other people’s personal experience of cancer can be a source of support and inspiration when you or someone you love is going through cancer treatment. If you have a personal experience of cancer you would like to share, we would love to hear from you. You may have cancer, have a family member or friend with cancer, or be caring for someone with cancer. Every cancer story is unique and has something to offer.

Real life stories may encourage people to get any symptoms checked out with their GP or go for the screening they’d been putting off, can provide hope and support to people who may be going through a difficult time and can highlight the importance of early detection and symptoms to look out for.

Your stories help us engage with the public and may encourage people to make a donation or take part in one of our fundraising events, therefore supporting our work to beat cancer every day, in every way, and save more lives.

If you have any questions or would like to share your story, please call 02 6257 9999 or email Cancer Council ACT today. And to view our Privacy Policy click here.

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Bridget's Story

My journey so far…….

After battling cancer and then trying to resume a new normal live, I thought that I would be able to pick up from where I left off. That was more than difficult, because my life was changed forever. I was not the person that I was before cancer or nor could I try to be. This experience has changed my thought process. One of my observations was when I gathered enough courage to tell people I had cancer they were either dismissive or wanted to know more. At the time I developed a disability in terms of writing, speaking, and most of all short term memory skills. I found this very hard to comprehend and I had to go back to the start and teach myself to spell and talk.

Another interesting observation was when I was sick and going through chemo people would come to see and ring, catch up, and now that I have recovered no more contact. I have heard this from others that have experienced this journey. You truly know who are you family and friends are.

There were times when I spent time crying because with this disease you have no control and found this the hardest thing I have ever experienced. I developed so much self-doubt and struggled to find a way of re-building my confidence. It has been one year since I finished my treatment and I am now in the position to have confidence and in a good headspace. I did spend a lot of time with low confidence and times it was all too hard to deal with this. Time and time again I hear people that have experienced this journey trying to gather enough strength to get their confidence back.

I do spend time through self-discovery and spend time reflecting on many things such as family and friends, things I would like to tick of my bucket list (August 2015).

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Merv Bartlett - father, grandfather and great - grandfather

I am a 57 year old father, grandfather and great-grandfather and who works in Canberra as a Protective Services Officer with the Australian Federal Police. On 7/2/2011 I received the news but only heard that one horrible word – I had bowel cancer. It was a daily struggle. I had 13 rounds of chemotherapy – every fortnight for six months. Life was dominated by the effects of the cancer and trying to do the best I could.

I attended the Cancer Council Living Well After Cancer program in 2013 which helped me get answers to lots of questions. The best part was meeting other people there who were in exactly the same position. You could talk openly about your feelings.

Finally in the last 6 months I have turned the corner and can feel and see the difference in myself. In Oct 2014 my port-a-cath was removed and I no longer have to have any more CT scans. Only annual visits to the Oncologist and Surgeon as part of my 5 year plan.

With planning I can enjoy doing a lot of activities again, although I have to remind myself and others I am not what I was before this journey started! (Jan 2015).

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