Dr Eliza Whiteside

Breast Cancer Journey Shared By USQ Staffer

The University of Southern Queensland’s (USQ) Dr Eliza Whiteside, a breast cancer researcher and survivor, will share her story at the Women in Super Mother’s Day Classic this weekend (May 11).

The event involves a 3km walk or a 6km run, starting and ending at Lake Annand Park, Toowoomba, from 7:30am. The event raises funds for breast cancer research through the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
Twelve years ago, at the age of 28, Dr Whiteside was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer despite no family history of the disease. Thanks to an experimental treatment developed by breast cancer researchers, Dr Whiteside survived the cancer and now uses her personal story to raise awareness and funds to support breast cancer research in Australia.

The ordeal also led Dr Whiteside to re-focus her own research to seeking ways to prevent cancer and improve survival by investigating the interactions between genes and environmental factors that drive hormone levels in the body. Dr Whiteside currently works in the USQ Office of Research, Research and Innovation Division as Manager for Research Integrity and Ethics.

As a regular guest speaker at cancer fundraising events across Australia, Dr Whiteside emphasises the importance and outcomes of funding breast cancer research. “If the research that led to my life-saving treatment hadn’t been funded then I would not be here now and my children would not have their mother,” she said.

“My story has a happy ending but there are many out there who are facing breast cancer at the moment and many more who have lost a loved one to the disease.  There are different types of breast cancer and the treatment that worked for me would not necessarily be effective for other types – this is why more research is needed.

“My experience changed my approach to research as I had a new appreciation of its value. Research can save lives and improve society but research is costly and it needs money to continue to move forward.”

Dr Whiteside said her current role at USQ allows her to have a much broader impact on improving lives through research. “Having someone with my background in the Research and Innovation Division will better assist researchers with navigating the research process and will ultimately enhance the impressive research already taking place at USQ,” she said.

To learn more about the Mother’s Day Classic go to www.mothersdayclassic.com.au. For more information about research at USQ visit www.usq.edu.au/research.

Submitted by:
Rhianwen Whitney

Email: [email protected]

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