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MasterChef's Shannon Martinez reveals her breast cancer diagnosis

MasterChef celebrity guest judge Shannon Martinez, 38, is battling a rare form of breast cancer. 

Shannon, who runs the vegan restaurant Smith & Daughters in Melbourne, shared her heartbreaking diagnosis via Instagram on Saturday. 

Uploading a photo of herself shaving off her hair, the popular restauranteur revealed she is battling triple-negative breast cancer, a type of cancer where the three receptors that are commonly found in breast cancer tumours are not present. 

Heartbreaking: MasterChef celebrity guest judge Shannon Martinez, 38, revealed she is battling a rare form of breast cancer on Saturday

Heartbreaking: MasterChef celebrity guest judge Shannon Martinez, 38, revealed she is battling a rare form of breast cancer on Saturday

‘Gang, it’s time I share some news with you all. Unfortunately I have been diagnosed with ‘Triple Negative Breast Cancer’ which is an uncommon diagnosis,’ she began her caption, explaining that she’s preparing to join a trial treatment of combined immunotherapy and double chemotherapy. 

‘Currently, the side effects are causing days on end with no sleep and very little energy but I feel that a lifetime of working punishingly long hours in hospitality has weirdly prepared me for chemo,’ she continued. 

After coming to terms with the ‘initial shock’ of her diagnosis, the chef decided to turn her battle into something more positive.  

Confronting: Uploading a photo of herself shaving off her hair, the popular restauranteur revealed she is battling triple-negative breast cancer

Confronting: Uploading a photo of herself shaving off her hair, the popular restauranteur revealed she is battling triple-negative breast cancer 

Diagnosis: Triple-negative breast cancer is a cancer where the three receptors that are commonly found in breast cancer tumours are not present. Shannon is pictured wearing a headscarf following chemotherapy treatment

Diagnosis: Triple-negative breast cancer is a cancer where the three receptors that are commonly found in breast cancer tumours are not present. Shannon is pictured wearing a headscarf following chemotherapy treatment 

‘I’ve decided to use my experience and trade to help others also undergoing cancer treatment to face their challenges along the way in the form of two literary projects,’ she explained.  

Shannon revealed she’s writing a cookbook called Cooking with Chemo. For You & Your Squad, which will follow her journey ‘from start to finish, the ups and downs of this s**tshow and everything in-between.’ 

She will also be releasing a comic book titled The Adventures of Chuck and her Bubble of Trouble. 

Sharing her journey: Shannon revealed she's writing a cookbook called Cooking with Chemo. For You & Your Squad

Sharing her journey: Shannon revealed she’s writing a cookbook called Cooking with Chemo. For You & Your Squad 

Proceeds of the book sales will go towards cancer research.   

‘Due to COVID-19 restrictions and my compromised immune system, I am unable to leave the house, so what better time to use than now for myself and for others?’ she wrote.

Shannon went on to thank the ‘rockstar’ staff working at her restaurants Smith & Daughters and Smith & Deli for ‘holding down the fort’ while she is at home.  

Health battle: Shannon, who runs the vegan restaurant Smith & Daughters in Melbourne, said she has been forced to stay at home throughout the COVID-19 pandemic due to her compromised immune system. Pictured in 2019 with Duncan Balwood

Health battle: Shannon, who runs the vegan restaurant Smith & Daughters in Melbourne, said she has been forced to stay at home throughout the COVID-19 pandemic due to her compromised immune system. Pictured in 2019 with Duncan Balwood

Triple negative breast cancer explained

Triple negative breast cancer is a form of breast cancer that doesn’t possess the three receptors typically found on breast cells – oestrogen, progesterone and HER2. Roughly 15 percent of breast cancers worldwide are triple negative.

Roughly 18,000 Australian women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year, 2,700 of whom have triple negative breast cancer. 

Anyone can get triple negative breast cancer, but pre-menopausal women – under the age of 40 – have a higher rate of the disease than older women. 

Treatment for triple negative breast cancer differs from other cancer treatments because of the absence of these three receptors. People with oestrogen and/or progesterone receptor positive breast cancer are typically treated with tamoxifen or an aromatase inhibitor, while people with HER2 positive breast cancer usually take a drug called Herceptin.

None of these are effective against triple negative breast cancer.

Triple negative breast cancer generally responds well to chemotherapy. Five years after diagnosis, people who had triple negative breast cancer are no more likely to have a recurrence of the disease than people with other types of breast cancer.

In the long term, over the course of 10 years or more, recurrence is less likely with triple negative breast cancer.

Treatment usually involves surgery – either lumpectomy or mastectomy – radiotherapy, if a lumpectomy is performed, and chemotherapy. 

Source: Breast Cancer Network Australia 

Ending on a positive note, Shannon wrote: ‘I want to thank you all for your continued support during this wild time, if not for you, the doors may have shut long ago. WE WILL SURVIVE THIS, bigger and better! See you all soon.’  

Back in May, Shannon received some backlash on after appearing on MasterChef Australia to host a vegan challenge.

Judge Melissa Leong pointed out the fact that Shannon is a meat eater, which caused her to awkwardly respond: ‘No. I’m not [vegan]. Shock, horror. But I think that lends itself to sort of why I make the food that I make, you know?’

'I'm coming at vegan food from a non-vegan perspective, I guess': In May, Shannon received some backlash on after appearing on MasterChef Australia to host a vegan challenge, despite not being vegan herself

‘I’m coming at vegan food from a non-vegan perspective, I guess’: In May, Shannon received some backlash on after appearing on MasterChef Australia to host a vegan challenge, despite not being vegan herself

‘I’m coming at vegan food from a non-vegan perspective, I guess. Understanding mouthfeel, textures, flavours.’ 

However, many fans thought it was odd for a chef who specialises in vegan cuisine not to actually be vegan.

‘It really unsettles me that the owner of Smith & Daughters isn’t vegan,’ Tweeted one viewer, while another added: ‘A vegan chef that isn’t vegan? What is she doing with her life?  

Confession: Many fans thought it was odd for a chef who specialises in vegan cuisine not to actually be vegan

Confession: Many fans thought it was odd for a chef who specialises in vegan cuisine not to actually be vegan

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