Cancer has been a part of Bruce Beamish’s life for years in Albany — but not in the way it is now. Since 2017, Mr Beamish has worked as the Cancer Council WA’s Great Southern regional education officer, spreading a message of prevention and awareness. But just three months ago, in a cruel twist, he was diagnosed with lymphoma. His knowledge of the early symptoms of cancer prompted him to see a doctor, but he was not prepared for the shock of the diagnosis in April. “Working so closely with cancer patients and their families over the years, I was used to hearing about some of the early warning signs, so when I started experiencing some vague symptoms myself, it was something I couldn’t ignore,” he said. “I was feeling constantly fatigued with shortness of breath and was also experiencing night sweats which I knew were some of the early signs, but I also thought it might have been my heart so my GP referred me to a cardiologist.” Scans showed his heart was in good shape, but they detected enlarged lymph nodes in his chest. “CT scans and a biopsy revealed I had stage two non-Hodgkin lymphoma and I needed to go to Perth for further tests and treatment,” he said. “In Perth, I stayed at Milroy Lodge which is one of Cancer Council WA’s city accommodation lodges. “Of course, I was already familiar with the Perth lodges and their services, having directed so many regional people there myself, but to actually experience them first-hand gave me such an appreciation for what they offer to country cancer patients and their families. The staff and facilities at Milroy Lodge really are wonderful and removed a layer of stress at a difficult time.” Mr Beamish is finding support in the counselling services he has promoted for years in his day job. “A cancer diagnosis brings up all kinds of emotions and it was a comfort to have access to caring, understanding people with such a depth of knowledge about cancer on the other end of the phone,” he said. His message of awareness now has the added weight of personal experience. “My advice to anyone experiencing anything that’s not quite right is to see a doctor straight away and persist with testing,” he said. Cancer Council 13 11 20.