Breast cancer case study: ‘I was extremely lucky’
CHERYL Thornett was not too worried when she was recalled for further tests after a mammogram.
The 64-year-old had been diagnosed with a couple of harmless cysts in the past and was used to being tested and screened. But soon it became clear that this time, her doctors were far more worried than usual.
Cheryl, a retired teacher, explained: “When I was called back following my mammogram I assumed it was a cyst. But then there were more tests, an ultrasound and a needle biopsy. It became clear that they expected there to be cancer.”
She was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ, which was located in her breast ducts, but had not spread outside of them. It was a terrible shock and her medical team recommended surgery.
“When I found out I had cancer I was shaking. I was not sure how I was going to drive home. The doctors recommended a lumpectomy because although it had not spread they thought it looked like it might.”
Cheryl had her surgery in 2008 and quickly recovered. Because of her condition she then underwent a further mammogram two years later which detected invasive cancer in the other breast.
She underwent more treatment and is now doing well, and has found a lot of information and support from the national charity Breast Cancer Care. But she believes that had she not had that second mammogram, the invasive cancer could have got even worse.
“I feel that I was extremely lucky,” she added. “I am very thankful that I did go for my mammograms. The cancer could have meant major surgery or harsher chemotherapy if it had spread further. So I am personally in favour of the breast screening programme.
“But perhaps if they do find women with DCIS they might offer a less intrusive treatment – perhaps they could go back for regular checks to make sure it’s not becoming invasive. However I am very grateful that I was in the system and picked up.”
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Weather for Edinburgh
Thursday 20 June 2013
Temperature: 11 C to 19 C
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Temperature: 11 C to 18 C
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