When Portland's Jenny Duffin felt a strange lump on her neck, she didn't think much of it.
A trip to her GP and a number of tests in March 2018 would reveal the earth-shattering diagnosis: Mrs Duffin had non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a blood cancer that affects the lymphatic system.
"It was a bit numbing, it was actually the day before my daughter's 16th when I received the diagnosis," she said.
"It wasn't until we got here to the hospital to find out what we had to go through.
"My father had the same cancer. Dad had five or six years (to live), so I thought that's what I was looking at. That's the first thing I thought of."
Most commonly, non-Hodgkin lymphoma starts in a lymph node at one or more places in the body. It can spread through the lymphatic system from one group of lymph nodes to another and can also spread to other lymph tissue, particularly in the bone marrow, spleen and liver.
Mrs Duffin is coming up to 12 months since her last bout of chemotherapy.
Jenny and Michael Duffin knew they would do whatever it took to fight it. That involved intensive trips to Warrnambool Base Hospital.
"I just thought what had to be done, would have to be done," Mrs Duffin said.
"I spent five days in the hospital for treatment and then I would have 16 days home. There were six rounds of that and another two rounds after that of another treatment.
"I had a lump in my neck, a lump in my chest and a lump down further, the one in my chest was nearly seven centimetres."
They found the lump on March 10 and by April 10 she found out it was cancer. She was in hospital by May.
Mr Duffin said it all happened very quickly.
"Our youngest is in school, so with Jenny being in hospital for a week at a time I couldn't give up my job for however long the treatment would be, and not have any income," he said.
"So I had to stay at work, juggling picking up our daughter, coming to visit Jen, juggling the whole situation. But we got there in the end.
"It was tough and very emotional, you just cry at first."
The Duffins said as parents they have always had a strong relationship with their kids, especially their youngest daughter. This time was no different.
"Sometimes I would just come and sleep on her bed while she was studying so she knew I was close by," Mrs Duffin said.
"She's pretty tough, she's definitely got my strong will.
"I think my way of coping was just to turn off and do what had to be done."
Mrs Duffin is coming up to one year cancer-free and is back working 15 hours a week at the local ALDI in Portland.
She wanted to tell her story to raise awareness for the upcoming cancer expo, the first for the region.
The Great South Coast Community Cancer Expo or CAN-Ex, will be held at Deakin University Warrnambool on October 19.
Organised by Dr Nathalie Davis (PhD) at South West Regional Cancer Centre, the event is a one-day support and information day for people directly affected by cancer, their families and friends, health professionals and the wider community.
"Many people like Michael and Jenny aren't aware of the extra support out there, like transport support to get to and from the hospital, and this expo will provide information on both the cancer services and support services available in the south-west region," Dr Davis said.
"I think the word cancer is something that scares people, we want to bring a different light to this word.
"This is the occasion to meet and interact with the health professionals involved in cancer treatment and support."
There will be representatives from over 30 exhibiting support services, a Q&A session and workshops.
The Duffins are looking forward to attending.
"Going through this makes you realise that cancer is not the end," Mrs Duffin said.
"I think the carer should know what's available so the patient can deal with fighting the battle," Mr Duffin added.
Have you signed up to The Standard's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in the south-west.