More Than A Lump Podcast
Listen Podcast Intro
Meet The Host
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.
Episode 1 – Meet Emma Cassidy
Emma Cassidy is science and PE teacher whose life changed dramatically when she was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer, which came as a huge shock to Emma given there was no family history of the disease and incredibly none of the major symptoms associated with the disease.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.