Bellshill gran encourages others to attend breast screening

A SCOTTISH grandmother is encouraging others to take up the offer of a free breast screening appointment after a routine mammogram picked up on breast cancer.

Linda Barclay. Picture: Supplied
Linda Barclay. Picture: Supplied

Linda Barclay, from Bellshill, was diagnosed with breast cancer six years ago.

Her words of encouragement come at the same time as a mobile breast screening unit is based in the car park of Tesco in Bellshill.

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Invitations to attend a screening appointment are being sent to local women aged between 50 and 70, who are registered with a local GP and are due their three year scan.

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Linda said: “I had been for a routine mammogram once before, so I didn’t expect the results to be any different this time round. I hadn’t felt a lump.

“However I ended up being called back for another mammogram. The doctor looked at it and told me that it looked like cancer. They did a biopsy there and then.

“If I hadn’t gone for that screening appointment then I wouldn’t have known there was a problem. I couldn’t feel it even when they told me where it was.”

Around 130 women’s lives are saved every year in Scotland as a result of breast screening.

Linda said: “I was diagnosed on 1 April – it wasn’t an April Fool for me.

“I hadn’t told my family that I was going for the follow up appointment. I didn’t want them to worry.

“The day that I was told I would need an operation; I told my husband that I had breast cancer. He went to tell my son and I told my daughter.”

After surgery, Linda received chemotherapy and radiotherapy to treat her stage three cancer and now feels “totally fine”.

Linda added: “I always had a feeling that I would be ok. That it wasn’t going to be a death sentence. There was no point in wallowing. You just need to keep fighting.

“I have three grandsons. If I hadn’t gone for the mammogram then I may not have met my youngest grandson or seen my daughter get married.

“My grandkids may not have had their gran. They are a big part of my life and I am so grateful that I am still here to see them.

“I’m really glad I went for that mammogram.”

Dr Tasmin Sommerfield, consultant in public health medicine, said: “I would urge all women who receive their invitation letter to consider taking up their screening appointment.

“Linda’s experience shows how important it is to attend a screening appointment. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women and around 4,800 women are diagnosed every year in Scotland.

“Breast screening is one of the most effective ways of detecting cancer before you notice any symptoms. That’s because screening can pick up tiny potential problems that you can’t see or feel.

“Many women don’t attend because they are worried that the process will be painful. Most women will only experience discomfort. Any pain or discomfort felt will only last for a very short period.

“The earlier breast cancer is found, the easier it is to treat. Screening is the best way to detect it early.