A cancer survivor who has waited eight years for plastic surgery has vowed to keep battling for other women.
A cancer survivor who has waited eight years for plastic surgery has vowed to keep battling for other women.

Cancer survivor battles to get help for women

A TABLELANDS mother is hoping to see a cure for the failings of the public health system after her own agonising eight-year wait for reconstructive breast surgery.

The emotional rollercoaster ride for breast cancer survivor Kate Yeoman took another turn late yesterday when she received notification from Queensland Health indicating a 12-month wait for surgery could be possible.

Kate Yeoman had a double mastectomy eight years ago afetr being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer … she is still waiting for a reconstruction. PIc : Brian Cassey
Kate Yeoman had a double mastectomy eight years ago afetr being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer … she is still waiting for a reconstruction. PIc : Brian Cassey

However a spokeswoman for Health Minister Steven Miles' department told the Cairns Post the letter should "never have been sent" and the Malanda resident will not be faced with another year waiting for surgery.

The spokeswoman said Ms Yeoman and 24 other Far North Queensland patients on the wait list would be prioritised in order to clear a backlog of patients.

"We're doing everything we can for her," she said.

LNP leader Deb Frecklington yesterday criticised Queensland Health's handling of the situation.

"Kate doesn't deserve to be treated like this," she said.

Kate Yeoman had a double mastectomy eight years ago afetr being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer … she is still waiting for a reconstruction. PIc : Brian Cassey
Kate Yeoman had a double mastectomy eight years ago afetr being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer … she is still waiting for a reconstruction. PIc : Brian Cassey

Ms Yeoman stressed that her double mastectomy never made her feel "like less of a woman" but rather empowered her to advocate on behalf of other cancer survivors.

"By telling my story and sharing images of myself maybe I can prompt people in power to have a little bit of empathy for what women go through and I think have achieved that," she said.

"My reason for standing up is because I am strong, and I am OK with who I am, for most women this is a really difficult thing to live with.

"I'm lucky, I'm fit and I'm healthy and I have totally embraced not having breasts, it has given my body time to heal and, mentally, me to adjust."

Kate Yeoman had a double mastectomy eight years ago afetr being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. She is still waiting for a reconstruction. PIc : Brian Cassey
Kate Yeoman had a double mastectomy eight years ago afetr being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. She is still waiting for a reconstruction. PIc : Brian Cassey

Ms Yeoman lost her close friend - who was diagnosed the same week as her - to breast cancer, and said she feels incredibly lucky to be alive.

"I've been to my kids' school functions and graduations. I have celebrated birthdays and Christmases with them," she said.

Having arrived at a place of acceptance, Ms Yeoman is now looking to the future and is hopeful successful surgery will allow her to turn the page on a traumatic chapter in her life.

"I think for me, it will be the closure of the treatment and it will finalise everything," Ms Yeoman said.