Please Get Screened - Ann's Story

Please Get Screened – Ann’s Story

It’s a fact. Around 4,600 women in Scotland are diagnosed with breast cancer every year. Health Promotion Officer Ann McArthur has just undergone the journey from diagnosis to recovery and wanted to share her experience to encourage women to attend screening. Here is her story.

“As I stood on top of Ben Nevis, I thought – I’ve just climbed the highest mountain in Scotland and I felt good, I felt fit, I felt so proud of myself! Little did I know that, less than four weeks later, I would receive a ‘recall’ letter instructing me to come back for another mammogram, followed by a breast cancer diagnosis.
We now know that the earlier breast cancer is diagnosed and treated, the greater the chances of survival.

I had been happy to accept the invite for breast screening at my local mobile screening unit and thought, “that’s me for another three years”. I am vigilant about my breast screening, as well as the self-examination procedures, as both my younger sisters had breast cancer 7 years ago.

“What do we do next?” I asked. I was a bit shocked, no doubt about it, but I knew early detection was good and the sooner things got started, the better the outcome could be.

After my recall mammogram I had an ultrasound and a biopsy. One week later it was confirmed, I had breast cancer and I needed surgery. Surgery was to follow in five weeks, and I’ll tell you that was a long five weeks. During that time I attended my nephew’s wedding, a big hat on my head and all dressed to the nines; to onlookers I hadn’t a care in the world. A week after that I flew to Dresden and Berlin for a family holiday. How could I enjoy myself I thought, but my family and my faith gave me the strength to keep going.

People say I’m a very positive person, I heard this so often throughout my cancer care and hearing it gave me determination to see the surgery and treatment regime through to the end. We have come a long way. Treatments now are highly targeted and personalised to each and every individual. Four weeks after surgery I received 19 sessions of radiotherapy and was prescribed hormonal therapy for the next 10 years – 1 tablet a day.

We are so lucky to have our NHS. I have seen and experienced the dedication that went into patient care at every step of my journey from pre-diagnosis to recovery (and thereafter) and I cannot thank staff enough for the care and support they gave me.

I have recovered and am now back at work and happy to share my experience with you.
The Scottish Government are promoting breast screening as part of their Detect Cancer Early programme and I urge all women aged 50-70 (and beyond) to take part. Please do not it put off.”

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Summer 2017 News