Greenslopes Mum Diagnosed with Unnamed Rare Cancer

A Greenslopes mum originally believed she had fractured her foot but was instead diagnosed with an unnamed, extremely rare form of cancer.

Jacqueline Cooper, a resident of Greenslopes, initially mistook a growing lump on her foot as an injury from an everyday accident involving her young son. Believing the swelling resulted from something as simple as a dropped toy, Ms Cooper’s concern grew as the lump enlarged. 

Seeking answers, she visited a podiatrist who conducted multiple scans, which led to a referral to a specialist at the Wesley Hospital. It was there that she was diagnosed with a rare type of sarcoma in her right big toe, a cancer so uncommon that it has yet to be named.

The Wesley Hospital Brisbane
Photo Credit: Google Maps

Diagnosed in 2022, Cooper underwent a series of treatments, starting with chemotherapy that did not shrink the tumour, necessitating surgical intervention. This was followed by additional chemotherapy sessions.

Now, a year and a half later, she celebrates being cancer-free but remains committed to raising awareness about her condition, especially during Sarcoma Awareness Month this July.

Ms Cooper is eager to share her story to enhance awareness and support for sarcoma and other rare cancers. She emphasises the importance of recognising the existence of support networks and resources available for those facing similar challenges. Ms Cooper’s experience highlights the emotional and medical journey faced by individuals diagnosed with rare cancers, underscoring the need for increased research and better support systems.

Sarcoma, which comprises only 1% of adult cancers and accounts for 20% of childhood cancers, is often misdiagnosed due to its symptoms resembling sports injuries or growing pains. The rarity of such cancers means that treatment advancements are slow to develop, prompting healthcare professionals to advocate for more substantial awareness and research efforts. 

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Published 2-July-2024

Jacqui Cooper Has a Rare Cancer, Shares Sarcoma Story to Help Raise Awareness

Jacqui Cooper said her life has been turned upside down since her diagnosis last year a rare and aggressive form of cancer on her foot. Now, she is helping raise sarcoma awareness.

Read: Pioneering Prostate Cancer Treatment Hits 20-Year Milestone at Greenslopes Private Hospital

In May 2022, after two foot surgeries and multiple scans and biopsies, Ms Cooper contacted her podiatrist about a lump on her foot, thinking she may have fractured a tendon or bone. After further testing, she was referred to specialists who confirmed the devastating news – she had a sarcoma so rare that it didn’t even have a name.

A sarcoma is an extremely rare and aggressive form of cancer that begins in connective tissues like fat, muscle, bones, cartilage, and blood vessels. The cancer often presents as a harmless lump or pulled muscle sensation, meaning it is usually diagnosed in later stages when prognosis is poor.

Within just a few short months, Ms Cooper began chemotherapy treatment to fight the rare sarcoma that had emerged in her foot.

“To date I have done 6 cycles of chemo and had 3 surgeries. In the third surgery my doctor said that I am now ‘cancer free’, but I continued to do chemo to basically rid any rogue cancer cells that could be floating around in my body,” Ms Cooper said on her MyCause page.

Understandably shocked by the diagnosis, the 37-year-old Stones Corner local quickly realised the importance of family and friends during this difficult time. 

“They then become carers, amazing supports and their generosity, morals, kindness really begin to shine through. I am so grateful to have these people surrounding me in my life,” she said.

To raise awareness and funds for sarcoma research this July, which is Sarcoma Awareness Month, Ms Cooper has launched a fundraiser

“I am asking for donations not only for the two sarcoma foundations but also Pankind. My mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in early 2011 and unfortunately was not lucky enough to survive it. We need to raise these important funds for people who are living with this horrible disease,” she said.

Jacqui with her mum (Photo credit: Jacqui Cooper/

PanKind The Australian Pancreatic Cancer Foundation (formerly the Avner Foundation) is the only Foundation in Australia exclusively dedicated to pancreatic cancer. 

Read: No Out-of-Pocket Costs for Participants of New Lung Cancer Program at Greenslopes Private Hospital

The Australia and New Zealand Sarcoma Association (ANZSA) is also encouraging everyone to show support by wearing yellow, hosting yellow morning teas, and donating to sarcoma research this month. Sarcoma may be rare, but with the help of donations and awareness, people like Ms Cooper are able to access life-saving treatment and support.

To know more about her journey and story, you can follow her Instagram page @jacqua622.

Published 26-July-2023