Last year 4631 new cases of head and neck cancer were diagnosed in Australia. Among them, 150 patients were diagnosed with nasal or sinus cancer – Snezana Drazic was one of them.
Snezana is a 37-year-old wife and mother of three boys whose cancer journey started back in 2012, just one week before her youngest son’s first birthday.
She noticed enlarged lymph nodes in her neck and went to see the local GP. After being told to rest and not worry, she sought a second opinion and was referred for a biopsy. An appointment with a specialist was arranged.
The specialist confirmed she had nasopharyngeal carcinoma.
“My whole world stopped, my heart broke and my family was hurting,” Snezana said.
Snezana was referred to Dr Lakmalie Perera at Westmead Hospital who explained the diagnosis and treatment to Snezana.
“She was compassionate and caring, yet strong and determined, telling me we were going to fight this together for cure,” Snezana said.
During her treatment, Snezana found the will to survive and was encouraged to fight for herself and for her family.
Her intense treatment included two lots of chemotherapy, followed by seven weeks of intensive radiation. She was hospitalised frequently, took strong pain medication and had a feeding tube to help her with nutrition.
“What I remember most of all is the pain my family went through, the looks of despair on their faces praying, hoping, wishing that I would survive the treatment and beat the disease,” Snezana said.
After almost five years Snezana is well enough to share her story, help others and most importantly watch her children grow.
To show her gratitude and give back to the place where her life was saved, earlier this year Snezana hosted a morning tea to raise funds for Westmead Medical Research Foundation (WMRF) to support the head and neck radiation oncology unit at The Crown Princess Mary Cancer Centre in Westmead Hospital.
Thanks to the support of family, friends and local businesses in her area, more than $6500 was raised to help cancer patients and their families.
For more information about supporting Westmead Medical Research Foundation via hosting a fundraising event, please contact Marlene Nasr, Community Relations & Events Manager on 1800 639 037 or to find out how you can support, please go to wmrf.org.au