WOMEN IN CANCER PROFILE: My pathway to understanding the role of the tumour microenvironment in cancer progression

    1. Carmela Ricciardelli
    1. Discipline of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Adelaide Medical School, Robinson Research Institute, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
    1. Correspondence should be addressed to C Ricciardelli; Email: carmela.ricciardelli{at}adelaide.edu.au

    I grew up in an Italian family in Adelaide, South Australia, with an older sister and younger brother. Both my parents left their families and migrated to Australia after the Second World War for a better life. Growing up in southern Italy in the 1930s, it was uncommon for children to study beyond primary school as older children needed to help their parents on the farm and help raise the younger children. My father started working as a labourer at General Motors Holden a week after he arrived in Adelaide in 1958 and also worked as a market gardener throughout his life. My mother worked in a fruit preserving factory, stopping formal work after she had her first child, but always helped my father in the market garden. We regularly helped our parents in the market garden too during school holidays and got a small glimpse of what it was like for them growing up in Italy. My dad always regretted that his parents did not give him the opportunity to complete a secondary education. Growing up we were always encouraged to study hard as my father believed it would be an advantage for us in the long run. Our Mum played an active role in our early education even though she herself could barely read and write. She only completed 2 years of primary school, but always encouraged us and patiently listened to us read. I remember dad testing me on my times tables and being scorned when I got them wrong. I commenced school a year younger than other students in my class and was asked to repeat grade 2 when I was found to be behind. I was devastated, but this failure at a young age contributed to my strong determination to succeed and not give up when …

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