October marks breast cancer awareness month, Seaford Gazette reporter Joanne Smith spoke to one resident diagnosed with the disease and explains how trusting her instincts helped uncover what was wrong.
Sue Webb said she would not be here today if she had not got a second opinion after experiencing pains in her breast.
After seeing a doctor she was told it was probably menopausal but because the mother-of-two continued to suffer she went back and saw another doctor who sent her for a mammogram.
Sue, who is self-employed and continued to work during the diagnosis, then had a biopsy which showed there was some cancerous cells.
The Seaford resident was later told it was an aggressive type of breast cancer and had two operations on the same breast to remove part of it. This was followed by chemotherapy and 12 months of the drug Herceptin.
Sue, who has since been told a scan shows she has beaten the cancer so far, is keen for people to not be embarrassed about going to the doctor, whether you’re male or female.
“I was shocked how many male breast cancer patients there were. I thought they were sitting there for their wives.
“Breast cancer is not always about finding a lump. If you look at yourself in the mirror and your breasts have changed shape or your nipple feels a bit funny go and see a doctor.”
Sue, who is now on a watch list for the next five years and has to have a mammogram to make sure nothing has come back, added, “You know what’s going on in your body and if you are wrong, so what? If you feel something is not quite right go and see your doctor.”
Sue said ploughing her time into her work, her family and speaking to friends at her Slimming World club helped her.
She said, “I’m a very positive person, not a lot of things faze me. I always think that someone is worse off then me. I’m lucky, I had lots of people looking after me and it gave me a tremendous boost.”
The married mum, who has two sons, decided to join Slimming World after the medication increased her hunger.
She says nearly everything she ate often tasted like salt so she swapped to eating a lot of spicy foods which she could enjoy.
She added, “I ballooned up and that was something I couldn’t cope with on top of everything else. That and losing my hair was the worst part.”
Knowing she couldn’t cut her calories, Sue joined Slimming World and spoke to the team there who explained how she could eat certain foods and still lose weight in a sensible way that would not affect her in an adverse way.
Sue is just one of 50,000 people that are diagnosed with breast cancer each year in the UK.
For more information visit www.breastcancercare.org.uk or call the free helpline on: 0808 800 6000.