What is A Stitch In Time?
A Stitch in Time project seeks to demystify the preventative pathways and demonstrate the options available to women who are at an increased risk to develop breast cancer. By showing women what the options look like, what they might expect from their own journey and presenting opportunities to find accurate information and support groups, the aim is to encourage women to be empowered and proactive in the decision process- ultimately hoping to prevent the breast cancer from developing the first instance.
There’s a great deal of information informing women that breast cancer is serious, that 1 in 8 Australian women will develop breast cancer and an enormous sea of pink that reminds us instantly of the need for funding for research and support. In fact, breast cancer is the most common cancer in Australian women, it’s the second most common cancer to cause death in women after lung cancer, and accounts for 27.4 per cent of all new cancers in women. At present, the risk of developing breast cancer before the age of 85 in women is 1 in 8. About 5% of breast cancers are due to an inherited faulty gene.
However, how do you know if you have one of these ‘faulty genes’ and are at a higher risk than the average women? The understanding of what being at ‘increased or high risk’ for developing breast cancer is not widely understood in the general population. In fact it generates a great deal of confusion and stress for many families when they learn of a breast cancer diagnosis in a relative. So how is genetic risk assessed, how do people find this information and what can then do once they have it? More importantly what can they do if they learn they are in fact at higher risk? As a communications project A Stitch in Time will explore these questions through the stories of women living the experience.
We’ve begun filming with Dyna Eldaief who is at high risk of developing breast cancer. We’re seeking more participants to share their stories in order to show different choices and pathways. We’d like to see all women armed with the information they need to inform how they will ‘make a stitch in time’.
Dyna is a regular Aussie mum living with her husband Jamie and three young children in regional Victoria. She has a very personable and relatable character and has carved out a niche for herself as an Egyptian cook, following the Egyptian heritage passed onto her by her parents. It’s currently a hobby but with her own YouTube channel that saw her cast in the ‘Taste of the Middle East’ late last year (a food contest show similar to MasterChief, filmed in Egypt) she may well be starting up a career.
Dyna’s breast cancer journey began in her early 20’s when her mother was diagnosed with the disease and eventually succumbed to it. Dyna learned then that there were multiple family members who had the disease including her mothers’ sister and a number of cousins who have been diagnosed in their 30’s. A genetic counselor has determined that she is at a high risk due to family history. For ten years now Dyna has been receiving regular check ups including mammograms, breast exams and MRI (Medical Resonance Imaging) She and her husband have three beautiful young children and with no plans for more, Dyna is ready to explore more preventative options available to her.
When we began filming with Dyna she had been asked to consider taking Tamoxifen and was researching surgical options as well as lifestyle choices including diet and exercise. It’s a complex and emotional path to be on, there are many questions and it’s not easy to know what choices to make. Dyna, doesn’t have cancer and she isn’t a cancer survivor so she falls into a strange middle ground between healthy and diagnoses. It’s an uncertain journey many women like Dyna are living with privately.