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Nikki Yazxhi

Although Australia has a 91% survival rate (largely thanks to research), 9% of those diagnosed still die within five years – which equates to 8 deaths per day or over 3,000 per year.

The National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF)  announced yesterday a world without breast cancer deaths is achievable by 2030, but only with a minimum of $100m investment in research over the next 10 years.

NBCF has identified the research areas which need to be addressed if we are to reach zero deaths from breast cancer by 2030, which will require investment of more than $100 million:

  • Gap analysis – A full and comprehensive dataset analysis between medical facilities and clinics that link patient information in Australia will identify why some patients with breast cancer don’t live past the five-year survival rate. Insights from this analysis will help to inform research investment into the highest priority areas helping to improve survival rates.
  • Immunotherapies –   An emerging area of research that aims to enhance the immune system to kill cancer cells in the body.
  • Precision medicine – Treatment is evolving towards more personalised therapies. These medicines aim to target each individual tumour to get the best treatment outcomes.
  • Predictive testing and prevention – 1 in 4 breast cancers are potentially preventable. Improving diagnostics and screening programs, reducing breast cancer recurrence and a deeper understanding of risk factors will enable great preventative options.

In response to NBCF’s announcement, Australian designer Camilla Franks, who is in remission from breast cancer, has written a heartfelt letter from her 2030 self in the hope that this ambitious plan is achieved. Scroll down to read…

Dear Milla,
Today you are 12 years post breast cancer.

12 years since you sat in that doctor’s office and felt the world around you come crashing down. 12 years since you faced an uncertain part of my daughter and partner’s future. 12 years since you shaved away my identity. 12 years since you felt the raw grip of chemo and the terror of the unknown.  12 years since your life walked a new path. 12 years since you took back control of something beyond your own power. 12 years since you survived.

I write to you as a woman who is proud, loved, relieved, grateful – but above all, alive.

Today marks the year 2030. Over the last 10 years the National Breast Cancer Foundation has invested in emerging areas of research to eliminate breast cancer deaths. It is now a world without breast cancer. A world without women’s suffering. A world without loss and sadness. A world in which our mothers, daughters, sisters and girlfriends live without fear.

12 years ago, you were diagnosed with a rare form of breast cancer, after 6 months of what your doctors called the “bazooka” of intense chemotherapy, you braved a double mastectomy and reconstruction. Your girls, who served you so fabulously, were laid to rest. Your new twins, Margarita and Tressara, took on the new front. And baby, haven’t they bloomed ever so gloriously… they even made national TV.

While humour was always your strongest bedside manner, it was an unspeakably difficult and trying time both mentally and physically – the storm wasn’t over just yet and this next chapter would be the most painful.

Your greatest role yet was the simple title of “Mum”. You earned this name in 2018 when Luna Gypsy Jones joined you earth side, just three months before you were diagnosed with BRCA1… It was short lived bliss, so brutally ripped away with no warning or explanation. You took on a new title of Mum Fighting Breast Cancer. As a result of the BRCA1, this also meant the big O came into play. Not that one, your ovaries. Yep, they would need to go too.  A big full stop. To robbed of things, you will never know again…F*#% you, cancer.

You’ve always been a shining poster child of learning things the hard way, and cancer was no different. In 2018 upon your diagnosis, you cried endless tears of fear, despair, confusion and helplessness. Weeks passed after your diagnosis, a dark and confusing blur came before you until you became confident in a treatment plan. Never-ending doctor and specialist appointments, you dug so deep for answers whilst navigating fear and terror. Cancer became a full-time job. 

You sought answers, opinions and advice and more often than not – each opinion conflicting the last. You knew that in stillness you would find the answers right for this body and together, with your medical team you drew up the battle lines and launched heavy artillery of science and medicine to save your body, your temple. You took back control. You became the CEO of your body. And baby, you’re here to tell the story.

Back in 2020, we still lost 8 women to breast cancer every day. That was 8 too many. You now stand proudly alongside sisters who fearlessly entered the same battlefield you did – and for the sisters who joined other universes in the process; our heart is with you always.

If our journey has taught us anything, it is that there is reward in relentless tenacity and never saying never. You’ve found a fountain of empowerment of sharing your story and encouraging anyone who will listen to never settle on first guidance.

With every fibre of my being, I write this letter with the knowledge that we’ve reached zero deaths from breast cancer. No victims, no deaths – just no breast cancer at all.

That’s my kind of world, and it means the world for me to be here.

Love Milla x

FOR MORE DETAILS, visit the National Breast Cancer Foundation by clicking here