In 2014, Lizette was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC). ACC is a very uncommon form of tumour which usually forms in glands of the head and neck. Lizette’s suspicions were caused by worsening, more frequent pains, which lead her to see a doctor. Lizette had an ultrasound performed, which allowed doctors to detect her tumour. At first, the doctors were 99% sure that the tumour was not cancerous. However, a surgical biopsy proved that the tumour was in fact caused by cancer. This is where Lizette’s cancer journey began.
Lizette says that the first thing she did after receiving her diagnosis was enter her disease into Google to try and learn more. However, there was very little information, given the rarity of her cancer. It was through her struggle to find information that she came across Without a Ribbon.
Lizette attended a conference in Brisbane, where she met many other victims of rare cancer like herself. She found the experience to be very reassuring and make her feel like she wasn’t alone in her struggle. IT also allowed her to learn more about her form of cancer.
Since her diagnosis with ACC, Lizette received surgery for her tumour. This surgery was followed by six weeks of radiation therapy, which is the use of radiation to target and destroy cancer cells. She now has scans every six months to check for any signs of remission.
During the conference in Brisbane, Lizette received some great advice for dealing with radiation therapy. Since the side effects can be particularly harsh on skin, other Warriors recommended products she could use to prevent skin damage from occurring.
For Lizette, one of the hardest parts about her diagnosis. Lizette worried about the pressure it would have on them, especially since she had teenage boys. Lizette felt that her family were able to receive a good amount of support for her family through conferences. Talking to other families allowed her husband to help more, and understand her disease to a greater extent. Lizette also took her children to a conference, which she felt helped as they were able to see other sufferers of rare cancers trying to live their lives to the fullest.
Lizette has first-hand experience with rare cancer and was willing to share her story with our team via a video. You can watch her video on our Facebook page here.
If you want to aid sufferers of rare cancer like Lizette, learn about the different ways you can help