Anne Cooper (far left) with daughter Kim Innis, her mother Betty Skinner and son Scott Cooper.
Anne Cooper (far left) with daughter Kim Innis, her mother Betty Skinner and son Scott Cooper. The Cooper family

Three generations rocked by cancer

DESPITE supporting both her mother and son through their battles with cancer, one Grafton woman was left in a state of disbelief upon hearing she too had the disease.

The breast cancer diagnosis for Ann Cooper was hard to take after losing her mother in 2017 after a long battle with the same disease.

Her son, South Grafton Rebels hardman Scott Cooper, had been diagnosed with a metastic melanoma a year earlier which had compounded the grief.

"I couldn't understand. My mum, my son and myself, that is three generations affected in just one family," she said.

"It's still very raw, the day I was told my son had it I had my mum in hospital."

The disease had a profound affect on Ms Cooper's life until she was declared cancer free in October.

"I was isolated, because I didn't go out, I couldn't drive it affected my whole life. I couldn't do a lot of things and I still cant do a lot of things."

Ms Cooper is thankful for the support she had from her family and medical staff and recognises the toll it takes on everyone involved.

"Its been very hard on all of us, its not just the person, whole families suffer."

A constant throughout both her own and her mothers battle with illness has been her 17 year-old dog Missy, giving Ms Cooper that little extra support during the challenging times.

"She has been my godsend, my companion," She said

"I think she knew I was sick, she chewed all the hair off her back paws and now that I'm getting better, the hair is growing back."

The Cancer Council predicts that 138 000 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed this year, rising to 150 000 in 2020.

Additionally, one in every two people will have been diagnosed with some form of the disease by the time they are 85.

In the Clarence Valley, the number of deaths caused by cancer is 1.09 times the national average according to figures published by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare last year.