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.
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.
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.
Talking about relationships and intimacy after a breast cancer diagnosis can be difficult, especially if you have a decreased libido, if sex is painful or if you’re feeling uncomfortable about changes in your body. In this episode of More Than A Lump, we invited along psychotherapist and psychosocial oncologist, Yvonne O’Meara who works therapeutically with people when illness has entered their lives, to discuss the importance of talking about our feelings. Keeping these feelings from each other can make it difficult for couples to give each other comfort and support. Yvonne, who has a special interest in psychosexual distress, infertility, and anticipatory grief is joined by Breast Cancer Ireland Patient Ambassador and local councellor, Teresa Costello to talk about the impact of a diagnosis on relationships, dating and intimacy. Broadcaster and good friend to the charity, Clare McKenna stepped in for Aisling to host this episode.
Niall Breslin is one of Ireland’s most formidable and inspiring mental health advocates and public speakers. He is a bestselling author, podcaster, musician, philanthropist, and a former professional athlete. Just before Christmas, Niall dropped into our studio to speak with Aisling. During the course of the conversation, Niall shared his own experience of facing a health challenge and he offered guidance and tips on mindfulness practices and breathing techniques that might help manage anxiety.
Over the past two seasons of More Than a Lump, Aisling has spoken to a selection of guests about how breast cancer has informed their perspectives on life, love, family, health, goals, and aspirations. As we begin a new season, and indeed a new year, Aisling reflects on some of the moments over these past 20 episodes that stopped her in her tracks. This episode is a compilation of some of those standout moments that reminded us that for so many impacted, breast cancer is more than a lump.
Madeleine McCoole first discovered a lump on her right breast in the shower. She didn’t think much of it but when, a few weeks later, she ended up in her GP’s surgery with her son, for another reason, she decided to mention it. Three weeks later, she was diagnosed with a grade three tumour. Like many impacted by a breast cancer diagnosis, the mother of two from Carrigaline, Co Cork, has been inspired to share her story in the hope of raising awareness and helping to ensure others, like her, detect their cancer early. Madeline is joined by Amanda LeQuesne, a counsellor with Purple House, a community-based cancer support centre in Bray, Co Wicklow. Everyone’s breast cancer journey is different but this episode explores some practices and techniques that might help those diagnosed deal with the initial shock and it offers advice to help work through some of the psychological challenges along the way.
At the age of 36, Denise Ashe was diagnosed with Triple-Negative Breast Cancer. Although an enormous shock, from the start Denise was determined that cancer was not going to hold her back from living her best life. Registration for this year’s Great Pink Run is now open and in this episode Denise chats to Aisling about how exercise and running have played a big role in her recovery. Denise is joined by nutritionist Orla Walsh. Orla kindly provided BCI with a set of nutritional tips to help prepare for the event and in this episode she discusses these and other dietary questions and concerns those diagnosed may have. The Great Pink Run takes place in Dublin’s Leopardstown racecourse and surrounding areas on October 9th, with a second event taking place in Kilkenny a week later on October 16th. If you can’t make the events in Dublin or Kilkenny, you can take part in a virtual sense between the 9th and 16th. To register go to greatpinkrun.ie
A breast cancer diagnosis effects everyone in the family not just the person diagnosed. In this episode, BCI CEO Aisling Hurley chats with two husbands, Steve Kelly and Jamie Crawford. Steve is married to Tanya and Jamie to Georgie. Both men have travelled with their wives along their breast cancer journeys and their paths to recovery. One in nine women will develop breast cancer in the course of their lifetime yet there is very little information available for partners. This episode of More Than A Lump attempts to spotlight on a partner’s perspective and aims to reveal valuable insights and perspectives which might help loved ones navigate their way through the range of experiences, emotions and challenges – once again demonstrating that breast cancer is more than a lump.
Consultant Radiologist, Dr Deirdre Duke and Outreach Coordinator and breast cancer survivor Olivia Carpenter speak to Aisling about the early stages of diagnosis, in terms of the interactions with the triage and assessment teams.
Soon after she completed a ten-kilometre charity run, Olivia’s husband, Gavin, gave her a big hug. As he held her close, he felt a lump in her right breast. He became alarmed and suggested that she get it medically checked. There began a journey for the Mum of three. A journey that brought her into contact with a host of medical professionals and ultimately to us here in Breast Cancer Ireland where she has been an active Ambassador and Outreach Coordinator visiting schools , companies and community groups sharing important messages about understanding good breast health.
Dr Duke shares her own reflections on how she prepares to tell women that they have breast cancer, she shares an update on the fantastic new Beaumont Breast Centre which was recently opened by First Lady, Sabina O’Higgins and she explains exactly what this centre will mean for the over 10,000 women who will be seen there annually.
This episode is proudly supported by Goodbody.
Dara McDonough found a lump whilst in the shower one morning. In this episode, Dara tells a powerful story, from a male breast cancer patient perspective, of finding himself in the unfamiliar surroundings of the waiting room of the Breast Care Centre, feeling like something of an outsider amongst the women around him. Now a long-term supporter of the work of Breast Cancer Ireland, he’s helping to raise the profile of the disease amongst the male population at large – as many people still don’t realise this disease can affect anyone – of any age – not just females.
Paula McClean was getting ready for a family wedding, where her three little girls were flower girls, one summer evening in July. She was applying tan to her arm and chest area when she felt a lump. In today’s podcast Paula shares her story of being diagnosed with Stage 2 Invasive Breast Cancer at the age of just 42, she talks about what made her get that lump checked, her treatment journey and why the emotional scars remain with her to this day, over 11 years later.
Paula shares a really honest reflection on the trauma of a breast cancer diagnosis, the worries and anxieties it brings, even years later. She also chats to Aisling about how her love of fashion, running, and being part of a community of women who have travelled the same road as she has, has helped her, but most importantly Paula talks about how, as a mother of three little girls, who are now teenagers and young women, she is passionate about continued investment into breast cancer research. She wants to protect girls like her daughters and indeed future generations of Irish women, to make sure they survive and thrive, despite what life throws at them.
Professor Arnie Hill is the Chairman of Breast Cancer Ireland and Head of the School of Medicine at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. He is a General Breast and Endocrine Surgeon and the national advisor for surgical oncology for the National Cancer Control Programme (under the direction of Professor Tom Kean). Aisling and Arnie first met when Aisling joined the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) as Director of Development. Over the past 15 years, and through the establishment of Breast Cancer Ireland as a charity in 2011, they have experienced many great advances. As the Lead Clinician in the new Breast Centre located on the Beaumont Hospital Campus, Arnie chats with Aisling about this ground-breaking new centre, which is due to open in the summertime which will cater for the over 10,000 cases presented each year.
Emma Cassidy is science and PE teacher whose life changed dramatically on June 27, 2017. Just 3 months after her 30th birthday, 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. Instead, in the lead up to her diagnosis, Emma experienced what she describes as “overwhelming fatigue”, and in the absence of anything of any abnormalities showing up in her tests, Emma’s GP referred her to the Breast Clinic in Beaumont Hospital to get checked as a purely precautionary measure. Emma’s story is one of bravery and hope, culminating in much celebrated birth of her son Sam in late 2020.