Cancer survivor now works to help others

DONNA Campbell is a cancer survivor.

She knows the fear, anguish and then through her own determination, the fighting spirit to take on the disease.

As she put it, "Cancer, while still a dreaded word, is definitely not always a death sentence."

Today is World Cancer Day and Cancer Council Australia hopes to dispel some of the myths surrounding the disease.

Although Ms Campbell, of Newnham, had heard some of the myths, that was all they were to her - myths.

In December 1998, Ms Campbell was diagnosed with uterine cancer and although doctors never told her, it was felt she would not live more than five years.

Yesterday, she said she's glad they never told her a thing.

"I'm very pleased I didn't know," Ms Campbell said.

"I would have only lived to 2004 and I think it would have changed my way of thinking.

"At the time all I was thinking is, `I want to get back to work."'

She said she travelled her cancer journey with the support of her surgeon and radiation oncologist.

"They were both patient with my questions and stubborn determination, but of course they were only there at times of appointments," Ms Campbell said.

"I didn't know of anyone who had my cancer.

"The journey does have its bumpy stages and such a person could have smoothed these bumps for me with their support and friendship."

This led her to resign from work and with the encouragement of her GP, enrolled in Cancer Council training to be a phone help-line volunteer, before getting involved in the Cancer Connect program.

Now she talks to people throughout Australia and New Zealand who have recently been diagnosed with uterine cancer.

"I can always hear their relief and joy when I am asked a common question - `How long since your cancer?"' she said.

"Their response to my survivorship gives me great satisfaction; a fuzzy moment."

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