Camilla Franks on building a world without breast cancer
In this heartfelt letter to her younger self, cancer survivor Camilla Franks imagines the year 2030 - a time for which the National Breast Cancer Foundation has set a goal to eliminate breast cancer deaths.
Today you are 12 years post breast cancer.
Twelve years since you sat in that doctor's office and felt the world around you come crashing down.
Twelve years since you faced an uncertain part of my daughter and partner's future.
Twelve years since you shaved away my identity.
Twelve years since you felt the raw grip of chemo and the terror of the unknown.
Twelve years since your life walked a new path.
Twelve years since you took back control of something beyond your own power.
Twelve years since you survived.
I write to you as a woman who is proud, loved, relieved, grateful - but above all, alive.
Today marks the year 2030. Over the last 10 years the National Breast Cancer Foundation has
invested in emerging areas of research to eliminate breast cancer deaths. It is now a world
without breast cancer. A world without women's suffering. A world without loss and sadness. A world in which our mothers, daughters, sisters and girlfriends live without fear.
Twelve years ago, you were diagnosed with a rare form of breast cancer, and after six months of what your doctors called the "bazooka" of intense chemotherapy, you braved a double mastectomy and reconstruction. Your girls, who served you so fabulously, were laid to rest. Your new twins, Margarita and Tressara, took on the new front. And baby, haven't they bloomed ever so gloriously … they even made national TV.
While humour was always your strongest bedside manner, it was an unspeakably difficult and
trying time both mentally and physically - the storm wasn't over just yet and this next chapter
would be the most painful.
Your greatest role yet was the simple title of "Mum". You earned this name in 2018 when Luna Gypsy Jones joined you earth side, just three months before you were diagnosed with BRCA1 … It was short lived bliss, so brutally ripped away with no warning or explanation.
You took on a new title of Mum Fighting Breast Cancer. As a result of the BRCA1, this also meant the big O came into play. Not that one; your ovaries. Yep, they would need to go too. A big full stop. You were robbed of things, you will never know again … F*** you, cancer.
You've always been a shining poster child of learning things the hard way, and cancer was no
different. In 2018 upon your diagnosis, you cried endless tears of fear, despair, confusion and
helplessness. Weeks passed after your diagnosis, a dark and confusing blur came before you
until you became confident in a treatment plan. Never ending doctor and specialist
appointments, you dug so deep for answers whilst navigating fear and terror. Cancer became a
You sought answers, opinions and advice and more often than not - each opinion conflicted with the last. You knew that in stillness you would find the answers right for this body and together, with your medical team you drew up the battle lines and launched heavy artillery of
science and medicine to save your body, your temple. You took back control. You became the
CEO of your body. And baby, you're here to tell the story.
Back in 2020, we still lost eight women to breast cancer every day. That was eight too many. You now stand proudly alongside sisters who fearlessly entered the same battlefield you did - and for the sisters who joined other universes in the process; our heart is with you always.
If our journey has taught us anything, it is that there is reward in relentless tenacity and never
saying never. You've found a fountain of empowerment of sharing your story and encouraging
anyone who will listen to never settle on first guidance.
With every fibre of my being, I write this letter with the knowledge that we've reached zero
deaths from breast cancer. No victims, no deaths - just no breast cancer at all.
That's my kind of world, and it means the world for me to be here.
Love Milla x