Three years ago, Department of Human Services Customer Service Officer Karen was diagnosed with cancer.
“My cancer started in my backside and moved to my lungs. Even though the lump was small on the surface, there was a tumor the size of a mandarin under my skin,” Karen said.
“It felt surreal to go from finding this lump that doctors thought was insignificant, to being rushed into surgery.”
Karen had a rare type of soft tissue cancer (sarcoma) called Desmoplastic small round cell tumor (DSRCT).
“There are approximately 12 different types of sarcoma, and often people don’t realise anything is wrong until they have serious symptoms,” Karen said.
“By then, it may be too late to access effective treatment.”
4 February is World Cancer Day, and Karen hopes to use this day to draw attention to sarcoma.
“I hope that by sharing my story, people will become more aware of changes in their body and not hesitate to see their doctor,” Karen said.
Karen’s biggest piece of advice to others is to be vigilant.
“Check the lumps and bumps on your body, no matter how small,” Karen said.
“If something doesn’t look or feel right, get it checked out by your medical practitioner ASAP.”
- Learn more about sarcoma from the Australasian Sarcoma Study Group