Tuesday, 22 April 2014

My breast cancer article for our Parish magazine

Last month I was asked to write an article about breast cancer for our Parish magazine.

Its three weeks since the magazine was distributed to local households. I assumed people would read it and hoped that maybe it would help someone, if not now but at a later date.
So I've been pleasantly surprised by the positive response it has received.

The last lady to get in touch was someone who had known from the start of my diagnosis but had appeared to go out of her way to avoid me over the last year. She made a point of phoning to tell me how brave she thought I was for sharing my story and that she was sure it would help someone and that she was going to keep the article just incase ..........

I've only had one negative reply, a person telling me that my advice about TLC wouldn't have helped her ..... it wouldn't have helped me either, because as you all know the mammogram was my saviour.

I was just trying to cover basic awareness in the article.

Anyway I thought I'd share the article with you.........

Breast cancer


v    Breast cancer is the most common cancer.


v    One woman in eight will be diagnosed with Breast cancer in her life time.


v    Around 50,000 women and 400 men are diagnosed each year with Breast cancer.


v    The NHS automatically invite women aged 50-70 who are registered with a GP for breast cancer screening every three years.


v    Around a third of breast cancers are diagnosed through screening.


So what? You’re thinking this is just a load of statistics, why should I read this? It doesn’t affect me.


A year ago I would have been thinking the same as you but in March 2013 I became part of those statistics.


Two days after my 50th Birthday I attended the mobile breast screening unit in a Holsworthy car park and had my first mammogram. It didn’t take long and soon I was on the way home and to be honest I didn’t give it another thought.

Nine days later I got a letter with an appointment to go to Exeter for further screening. This involved another mammogram and a biopsy. Five days later I had to return to Exeter for the biopsy results.


It was breast cancer.


The lump was small which is why I hadn’t felt it and if it hadn’t been for the screening I wouldn’t have found it for maybe another couple of years.


Initially I was shocked, scared and angry.


I decided to start a blog and write about my breast cancer. Not only did I find this cathartic but it also helped people keep up with my treatment without feeling they had to phone or e-mail every few days to see how I was getting on! Perhaps rather naively I didn’t realise at the start that it would be read worldwide in fact I just thought a few friends would look at it every now and then, however to date there have been over 8700 page views and I’ve been told that I’ve made some people laugh and been an inspiration to others.

It can be found at sarahsdancewithcancer.blogspot.com


Now enough about me!


If you are invited for a mammogram please go, it could save your life!


Are you breast aware?


Do you know what your breasts look and feel like normally?

Are you on the look out for any unusual changes?

It’s a good idea to get into the habit and do it regularly, maybe in the bath or shower.

Me? I do it first thing in the morning on the way down to the loo!


I’ve pinched this from one of the breast cancer charities but it’s as easy as TLC.


T ouch your breasts – can you feel anything unusual?

L ook for changes – Is there any change in shape or texture?

C heck anything unusual with your Doctor


Now there’s no special way of checking yourself and each Doctor and Consultant who has examined me has their own way so don’t be scared to have a good feel of yourself.


If you have any breast cancer or breast health concerns or you are a friend or relative of someone who has, who can you talk to?


Well there’s your Doctor and then there are also breast cancer charities, two of which are listed below.


They also have a free helpline 0808 8006000



The best advice I was given and which I will pass onto you …. DON’T google anything about breast cancer ……. It will scare you to death unnecessarily! Talk to the healthcare professionals.

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