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More Than A Lump Podcast

A diagnosis of breast cancer can cause a lifechanging ripple effect of impact, affecting those we love the most. In this podcast, Aisling Hurley CEO of Breast Cancer Ireland talks to a selection of guests about their very personal connections to breast cancer – be it through their career choice, their own first-hand experience of the disease, or through sharing the experience of close family members. Utterly unique stories on how breast cancer has informed their perspective on life, love, family, health, their goals, and aspirations, proving beyond doubt that breast cancer is more than a lump.

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by Aisling Hurley | More Than A Lump Podcast

Meet The Host

Aisling Hurley

Aisling Hurley

CEO of Breast Cancer Ireland

With over 30 years of experience in the non-profit sector, Aisling leads the development and expansion of Breast Cancer Ireland, spearheading the delivery of unprecedented funding into research which will transform the disease into the future. A passionate advocate of good breast health, she believes in empowering people with the information they need to take ownership of their breast health. 

Aisling started her career at the University of Limerick, assisting with the development of the University of Limerick Foundation and then moving on to become a Consultant with CCS Ireland, where she worked on a variety of arts, cultural, overseas, and educational projects.

In 2005,  Aisling joined the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) as Director of Development. During her tenure, Aisling raised over €20 million as part of the college development campaign. In 2012, following discussions with RCSI, Breast Cancer Ireland was established as a separate legal entity and secured its own charitable status (CHY 19926).  Breast Cancer Ireland is one of just 72 Triple Locked charities, out of 8,770, in Ireland, accredited as such for its transparency, accountability and good governance.

 

Featured Episode

S3 – Episode 7 – Meet Anne Nolan

Breast cancer has been an unwelcome presence in the life of Anne Nolan, a member of the singing group The Nolans , who shot to fame in the 1980’s with their hit, “I’m In The Mood For Dancing”. Tragically, Anne’s sister Bernadette, died from breast cancer in 2013 aged 52 and two years ago both Anne and her other sister Linda revealed they were both diagnosed with cancer. In this episode of More Than A Lump, Aisling talks to Anne from her home in Blackpool about the impact of the disease on her life and ahead of the BCI Race Day in Leopardstown on April 2nd, when Anne will be one of the charity’s special guests.

Podcast Episodes

S3 – Episode 9 –  Meet Dr Genevieve Ferraris

S3 – Episode 9 – Meet Dr Genevieve Ferraris

In this penultimate episode of Season Three, Aisling speaks with menopause specialist Dr Genevieve Ferraris from The Menopause Hub. The episode explores the range of symptoms that women can experience during menopause, including the impact of breast cancer treatment on the early onset of menopause. Dr Ferraris shares her expertise on menopause education and awareness, including the role of nutrition, exercise, and self-care. The discussion also covers the topic of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), including its potential benefits and risks. Throughout the episode, Aisling shares stories from women who have experienced early menopause and its impact on their lives.

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S3 – Episode 8 –  Meet Siobhan Freeney

S3 – Episode 8 – Meet Siobhan Freeney

Like so many women, Siobhán Freeney’s life was hectic. Despite juggling a new job and her husband’s health, the mother-of-two knew something was not quite right. Her sixth sense prompted her to avidly attend every scheduled mammogram appointment and eventually she was diagnosed with stage 3 lobular breast cancer in 2015. Following extensive treatment and surgery, Siobhan became interested in patient advocacy and she is now a passionate spokesperson for lobular breast cancer in Ireland and overseas, endeavouring to share the signs of this type of breast cancer with other women and most importantly to push for more research investment into lobular.

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S3 – Episode 7 –  Meet Anne Nolan

S3 – Episode 7 – Meet Anne Nolan

Breast cancer has been an unwelcome presence in the life of Anne Nolan, a member of the singing group The Nolans , who shot to fame in the 1980’s with their hit, “I’m In The Mood For Dancing”. Tragically, Anne’s sister Bernadette, died from breast cancer in 2013 aged 52 and two years ago both Anne and her other sister Linda revealed they were both diagnosed with cancer. In this episode of More Than A Lump, Aisling talks to Anne from her home in Blackpool about the impact of the disease on her life and ahead of the BCI Race Day in Leopardstown on April 2nd, when Anne will be one of the charity’s special guests.

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S3 – Episode 6 – Meet Paul and Kate Gallagher

S3 – Episode 6 – Meet Paul and Kate Gallagher

When Paul Gallagher’s wife Marie died from breast cancer in 2007, he had to raise their three daughters, Amy, Kate and Sophie on his own. At the time of Marie’s initial diagnosis in 2002, the girls were just 13, 10 and 6. In this episode of More Than A Lump, Paul and his middle daughter Kate join Aisling to talk about their beloved Marie and to reflect on the past twenty years, the low points and the high points, and in particular the birth recently of his first grandchild, Kate’s niece and Amy’s daughter, Ruby Marie. This is a story of loss and bereavement but it is also a story of resilience, hope and getting on with things for the sake of the people you love. If you think you might find the topic of loss and bereavement too upsetting, you may wish to skip this episode.

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S3 – Episode 5 – Meet Lisa Convey, Lynne Buckley and Paula McClean

S3 – Episode 5 – Meet Lisa Convey, Lynne Buckley and Paula McClean

Back in Season 1, Paula McClean joined Aisling to tell her story about being diagnosed with Stage 2 Invasive Breast Cancer at the age of 42. Paula returns to guest-host this episode and to pick up on a topic that was referenced in the earlier episode, that of the psychological and emotional scars that remain when the initial treatment is over. Paula is joined by Mayo native, Lisa Convey and Cork native , Lynne Buckley, both fellow breast cancer survivors who have travelled a similar road.

Lisa first met Paula almost ten years ago at a Breast Cancer Ireland photocall but admits she felt vulnerable at that time. Today, Lisa feels stronger and ready to tell her emotional story.

Lynne was diagnosed while she was pregnant with her son Adam in 2017 and she too has a powerful and a very personal story to share. This episode of More Than A Lump is a raw and honest conversation between three amazing women who have shared experiences that those who have not been diagnosed simply cannot imagine. We hope you find it helpful.

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S3 – Episode 4 – Meet Rachel McKenna

S3 – Episode 4 – Meet Rachel McKenna

Rachel McKenna is living with cancer. In this episode, she takes Aisling through her story, from those early signs during her pregnancy, though to the birth of her beautiful son, Elijah, born in October 2020, which has brought Rachel and her fiancé, Aidan such great joy, and on to the day she was told her cancer was inoperable. Rachel is the face of Breast Cancer Ireland’s recently launched, #MetastaticMatters campaign, which aims to highlight the symptoms of metastatic disease to be aware of, and also to increase understanding of how and why this occurs. This is a positive, uplifting and empowering episode delivered by a beautiful and powerful woman.

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S2 – Episode 10 – Meet Laura Austin, Emma Meir and Ian Meagan

S2 – Episode 10 – Meet Laura Austin, Emma Meir and Ian Meagan

Emma Meir was diagnosed with Stage 3 HER2 negative breast cancer in October 2021 after noticing a lump on her breast just a month earlier.
Now a year on, the Mum of two girls feels like things are beginning to return to normal. Emma is joined, in this final episode of Season 2,
by Laura Austin, also a Mum of two girls, who was diagnosed with Stage 3 Triple Negative Breast Cancer in 2018. The women are joined by HR specialist,
Ian Meagan, HR Manager of Benetel Ltd to discuss the topic of returning to work after breast cancer. While this is a broad and complex area and
can be so personal to your treatment plan, your family and support network, your financial situation and can depend on the sector and employer,
like so many of our previous More Than A Lump episodes, Aisling aims to unpack some of the issues and share a perspective and the experiences of
others who have travelled this path.

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S2 – Episode 9 – Meet Professor Leonie Young

S2 – Episode 9 – Meet Professor Leonie Young

Consistent and intensive breast cancer research is vital in changing the landscape of the disease. The Breast Cancer Ireland Dublin Cancer Conference took place in RCSI from 19th – 21st October 2022, where the world’s leading breast cancer researchers gathered for a ground-breaking, three-day conference that Breast Cancer Ireland were proud to sponsor. In this penultimate episode of Season 2, Aisling speaks with the co-chair of the conference, Scientific Director Beaumont RCSI Cancer Centre, Professor Leonie Young. Both women and their teams have worked together for many years and their shared passion for research into breast cancer makes for an inspiring and uplifting discourse on advancements to date, progress coming down the line and offers hope for the future. This episode is well worth listening to.

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S2 – Episode 8 – Meet Ann Eble, Carol Mallon and Marion Egan

S2 – Episode 8 – Meet Ann Eble, Carol Mallon and Marion Egan

Ann Eble was 48 years old when she was diagnosed with breast cancer for the first time in 2003. Ann is joined by Carol Mallon who was diagnosed in 2004 and Marion Egan who is living with a metastatic diagnosis. Each of the women have dealt with their diagnosis differently. They talk through their experiences, sharing the various side-effects they have experienced, the challenges associated with their treatment and the ways they have founds to live their very best lives, with their families and their friends.

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S2 – Episode 7 – Meet Rhonda Richardson and Dr Reem Salman

S2 – Episode 7 – Meet Rhonda Richardson and Dr Reem Salman

Rhonda Richardson’s grandmother and her three aunts all had breast cancer and so she had been attending a breast screening clinic since the age of 33 but sadly at the age of 45 Rhonda herself was diagnosed with breast cancer. In this episode of More Than A Lump podcast, Aisling speaks with Rhonda about her diagnosis and treatment and the decisions she her sisters took, following their positive screening for the BRCA2 gene. Aisling is joined by Dr Reem Salman, Consultant Breast Surgeon and a member of the Family Risk Assessment Clinic team at the recently opened Breast Centre on the Beaumont Hospital Campus, Dublin to talk about the very important subject of breast cancer genetics and family history.

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S2 – Episode 6 – Meet Jennifer Rock, Yinka Martin and Valerie Murphy

S2 – Episode 6 – Meet Jennifer Rock, Yinka Martin and Valerie Murphy

Over the past fifteen episodes of More Than A Lump we have covered a range of topics, sharing personal stories and covering many of the various challenges that a breast cancer diagnosis can present for women. In this episode, called Beauty Beyond Breast Cancer, Aisling takes a different approach. Through her conversation with Jennifer Rock, AKA The Skin Nerd, Yinka Martin founder of Hairweavon and Valerie Murphy of Valerie’s Breast Care, three women who provide products, services and expertise to those diagnosed in the area of skin, hair, and bra fitting, we hear how the beauty industry and importantly how feeling beautiful, and like one’s self, during and beyond treatment, is so vital. Aisling chats to Jennifer, Yinka and Valerie about their own interactions with those diagnosed over many years, as well as advancements in the products and services they provide. We hope you find this episode helpful.

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S2 – Episode 5 – Meet Sorcha Lavelle

S2 – Episode 5 – Meet Sorcha Lavelle

Sorcha Lavelle was just 22 years of age when, following a routine visit to her GP, she was diagnosed with an aggressive breast cancer that had spread to her lymph nodes. She admits she wasn’t breast aware and thought the small lump on her left breast – which was about the size of a pea – was almost not worthy of a mention. Fortunately for Sorcha, she did mention the lump and her diagnosis, while shocking, was quick and her outcome more positive than if she has not brought it to her doctor’s attention when she did. In this episode, Sorcha talks to Aisling about what it means to her, to her family and her friends to receive a diagnosis of breast cancer so young and why she believes that the misconception that breast cancer is a disease of older women needs to be spoken about. Sorcha is passionate about telling younger women, in particular, to look out for the signs and symptoms of breast cancer and to know their normal.

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Episode 10  – Meet Teresa Costello

Episode 10 – Meet Teresa Costello

In this final episode of Season 1, Aisling speaks with Teresa Costello, a breast cancer survivor, whose initial symptoms of breast cancer were more than a lump. The orange peel-like rash on her breast was one of the tell-tale signs her consultant pointed out to her, when the then 36-year-old, was examined in the Breast Clinic. The conversation focuses on how being diagnosed with breast cancer has utterly changed the direction of Teresa’s life and how her involvement with Breast Cancer Ireland as a Patient Ambassador for the past eight years, helping to raise vital funds to support pioneering research, has made an impact.

Teresa then turns the table and asks Aisling a few questions on what’s coming up for Breast Cancer Ireland over the summer and into the future. Aisling shares details of the charity’s education and awareness programmes, being the beneficiary of the 100k in 30days challenge organised by Niall Carroll and Cara McAdam from Blackrock, Co Louth, taking place this June, the plans for the Great Pink Run coming back in October after two years as a virtual event, and significantly how further investment into research and clinical trials will change the landscape of the disease in Ireland.

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Episode 9  – Meet Dr Monica Peres

Episode 9 – Meet Dr Monica Peres

Dr Monica Peres is a GP based in Cork. She has an impressive 52k followers on TikTok and 64k followers on Instagram, where she gives health advice to her followers. In this episode, Dr Monica speaks to Aisling about some of the barriers women face in relation to checking their breasts regularly. She talks about what the most common ‘misconceptions’ about breast cancer are, in her experience, and why the disease might not always present as a lump.

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Episode 8  – Meet Demmy Adebayo

Episode 8 – Meet Demmy Adebayo

Demmy Abedayo was just 41 years of age when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, early last year, six months after she first found a lump in her right breast. Following four months of chemotherapy, 16 sessions of radiotherapy, and with reconstructive surgery planned over the coming weeks, Demmy joins Aisling for this episode to share important messages around good breast health, particularly amongst women in the African community in Ireland. She talks about trusting science, leaning on the support of family and friends and taking ownership of our bodies, regularly checking ourselves for the signs and symptoms.

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Episode 7  – Meet Jamie Martin Smith

Episode 7 – Meet Jamie Martin Smith

In this episode, Aisling talks to Consultant Plastic Surgeon, Jamie Martin-Smith about his career choice, running the general plastics clinic at Beaumont Hospital and managing the full spectrum of plastic surgical cases, as well as a dedicated reconstructive breast surgery clinic. He answers some of the questions that women in the Breast Cancer Ireland community ask in relation to how long they should wait for reconstruction following treatment, how to physically prepare for breast reconstruction surgery and how to deal with the after effects.

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Episode 6  – Meet Georgie and Siobhan

Episode 6 – Meet Georgie and Siobhan

Georgie Crawford was due to return to work at the end of her maternity leave and only 31 years of age, when she first discovered a lump in her breast. Shortly afterwards she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

In those early days, weeks and months, as the impact of her diagnosis began to hit her, Georgie turned to the people in her life that she loved the most and who loved her. In particular her husband Jamie and her Mum Siobhan. Together they steadied her, put their loving arms around her and nurtured her back to health.

Now an ambassador for Breast Cancer Ireland, Georgie and Siobhan join Aisling to reflect on the past five years, the highs and the lows, and share with our listeners how finding that lump has utterly changed both of their lives, in so many ways

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Episode 5  – Meet Juliette O’Connell

Episode 5 – Meet Juliette O’Connell

Juliette O’Connell was just 41-years-old when she was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer, a chance check-up at the GP led to the unexpected news that threw her world upside down. The Limerick native admits she was simply not breast aware at the time, taking her health for granted and assuming that because she fit she was in good health.

Juliette is now an Outreach Coordinator with Breast Cancer Ireland, bringing important messages of good breast health to Transition Year Students, teachers as well as community groups and organisations throughout Munster. In this episode, Juliette shares her powerful story with Aisling and talks about the fact that she never thought, for one minute, that the rash she was ignoring for months would turn out to be breast cancer and very much more than a lump.

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