10 years of living with cancer

In March 2010, at the age of 38, Sean Mahony received the devastating news that he had stage four bowel cancer and that it had spread to his liver.

 Patient Sean Mahony with Caregivers from the Bendat Family Comprehensive Cancer Centre

With a very poor prognosis, his biggest fear was not seeing his three young children Alyssa, Jordan and Justin, then aged 8, 6 and 4, grow up.

Defying all odds, Mr Mahony will celebrate 10 years of survival this month, and receive his 250th round of chemotherapy at St John of God Subiaco Hospital’s Bendat Family Comprehensive Cancer Centre.

“Every two weeks, I visit St John of God Subiaco Hospital’s Bendat Family Comprehensive Cancer to receive treatment,” he said

“The nurses are like my family now, which makes my treatment days feel more like a social outing, rather than a medical appointment.”

As Sean reflects on the past 10 years, he praises his forward thinking medical team, including St John of God Subiaco Hospital Oncologist Dr Tom van Hagen, who has treated him since his initial diagnosis.

“Dr van Hagen is constantly exploring the latest research and treatment advancements to ensure that I continue to live a good quality of life.”

Treating oncologist Dr Tom van Hagen shares, "Sean is a beacon of hope for all patients diagnosed with cancer."

"He is such an amazing example of how the human spirit, and living life to the fullest with a positive attitude, can help fight cancer and the side effects of treatment. Sean continues to work in a high powered job and spends much time (and many vacations) with his family."

"Thankfully, with so many new and exciting oncology treatments available now, Sean's story is no longer the exception", he said. 

St John of God Subiaco Hospital CEO Prof Shirley Bowen added that the hospital’s significant investment in health and medical research ensures patients like Sean have the best chance for survival.

“Our commitment to research enables us to deliver exceptional patient care and is supported by all St John of God Subiaco Hospital Oncologists,” she said.

“Of our 50 active clinical trials, 45 are specific to oncology, with research investigating breast, colorectal, pancreatic, gynaecological, lung, prostate and brain cancers, as well as melanoma.”

“We are pleased to be considered one of Western Australia’s premier research institutes.”

Sean Mahony continues to be optimistic about the future.

“The longer you stay alive, the more treatment options are available.”

“I hope to stay ahead of the curve and maybe one day there will be a cure.”

Most of all, Sean is grateful to spend time with his family and see his children become young adults.

Learn more about our Bendat Family Comprehensive Cancer Centre