Nikki Neofitou diagnosed with breast cancer after preventative surgery delay

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Nikki Neofitou has revealed to ABC News how she was diagnosed with breast cancer after her preventative surgery date at a Victorian hospital was delayed from February 2022 to December later that year.

At 20 years old, Nikki found out she was a carrier of the breast cancer 1 (BRCA1) gene mutation, meaning she had a 72 percent chance of developing breast cancer.

Having watched her mother Mary suffer from breast cancer, Nikki decided to undergo a prophylactic mastectomy at the age of 23. The surgery, which is classified as an elective procedure, can lower breast cancer risk by 90 percent.

“After having watched my Mum go through chemotherapy and radiotherapy, I knew that wasn’t a future I wanted for myself, so I wanted to be able take control of my future and change the course of my life,” she told ABC News in an interview.

Nikki said her surgery was pushed back by ten months and just two weeks before the rescheduled surgery date, she was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer.

Nikki Neofitou with her mum Mary.

“Hearing those words and finding myself in the same spot that my Mum did 20 years ago was so hard for me to understand when I had been so proactive in making the right decisions and taking control of my life,” she told ABC News. 

According to ABC News, long waits for preventative surgery could be leading to more cancer diagnoses in women who have hereditary breast cancer in Australia.

At current, Nikki is liaising with politicians and spreading awareness for preventive surgery not to be classified as elective.

Speaking in Victoria, where Nikki’s surgery was delayed, Premier Daniel Andrews said the state government was doing all it could to avoid similar situations in the future. 

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