Bunbury mum to feature in So Brave breast cancer awareness calendar

Breast cancer awareness: Bunbury woman Jen Rowe will be the first from the South West to be featured in the So Brave calendar. Photo: Emily Sharp.

Breast cancer awareness: Bunbury woman Jen Rowe will be the first from the South West to be featured in the So Brave calendar. Photo: Emily Sharp.

On April 15, Bunbury woman Jen Rowe will spend eight hours having her body painted before being photographed at the Busselton Jetty for the 2020 breast cancer fundraiser calendar, So Brave. The photo shoot will mark one year since she was diagnosed, with Ms Rowe the first South West woman to be featured in the Australia-wide calendar.

"I can't wait - it's really exciting, it's nice to end it on a high and then I can move on with my life," she said. 

"I read an article about the founder so I emailed her and she asked me to come on board - there are 12 girls, all who got diagnosed under the age of 40.

"I found a dimple in my left breast and I was busy organising my 40th birthday party and then after I thought I better go to the doctor."

Following her diagnosis, Ms Rowe had a double mastectomy and a reconstruction, she will continue to get checks for the next five years and will be on estrogen-reducing medication for the next ten years.

"I've taken it under my wing and I'm just lucky to be alive, I'm here and I've got three kids and I get to watch them grow up," she said.

"I'm lucky I caught mine really early it was stage one, if I'd ignored it, I dread to think what would have happened."

The So Brave ambassador said it was important to spread the message about breast cancer for the younger population, with two people under the age of 40 diagnosed every day. 

"Younger women tend to get diagnosed with more aggressive breast cancers and the survival rates for younger women are worse than if you get it over the age of 40, so it's really important that if you're a younger person, you are breast aware," she said.

"The aim is really to try and empower younger survivors to learn to love their body again and to raise awareness for young people to be more breast aware because I don't think people really grasp that you can get breast cancer in your 20s and 30s.

"If you're concerned, follow your gut instinct and get a doctor to explore it further."

As part of being a So Brave ambassador, Ms Rowe is aiming to raise $5000 to cover the cost of her involvement in the calendar as well as money for further research. To donate visit sobrave.com.au/campaigns/jensobrave/donate.