Over 12 years ago, Kerryn was diagnosed with Adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC). ACC is a rare type if cancer that arises in glands. In Kerryn’s case, the cancer began above the breast and caused high levels of pain, affecting her ability to work with children.
Kerryn’s form of cancer went undetected by doctors for a long time. Since the main symptom was breast pain, doctors were left confused. This is because breast cancer should not cause any pain. Kerryn went to see doctors several times and didn’t receive a diagnosis.
Finally, the doctors realised that Kerryn’s condition may not be breast cancer and determined that a biopsy was needed. A biopsy is when a small number of cells are extracted from a suspected tumour and examined for signs of cancer. Doctors performed a difficult and painful biopsy on the source of pain and were able to extract just enough cells to send away. The sample was then sent the sample away for testing. After a few days, Kerryn received a phone call explaining that these tests found abnormal cells present.
Following this news, the doctors recommended a second biopsy. Since ACC tumours grow along nerves, the initial biopsy was extremely painful. For this reason, doctors performed a surgical biopsy. The surgical biopsy determined that Kerryn had a rare form of cancer; one that the doctor had never seen in his life. This is where Kerryn’s journey began.
Since her diagnosis, Kerryn has had over 26 skin cancer tumours removed. This skin cancer is likely a result of her initial tumour spreading. Kerryn continues to fight her battle with cancer every day.
Kerryn is a member of Without a Ribbon – a charity that provides support for sufferers of rare cancers such as Adenoid cystic carcinoma. Since rare cancers can be difficult to diagnose, they can go undetected for a long time. Kerryn has a first-hand experience with this and was willing to share her story with our team. You can watch her video below.
If you want to help sufferers of rare cancer like Kerryn, learn about the different ways you can help