Each year more than 55,000 women and 390 men are diagnosed with breast cancer. Mandy Lennon, who works in our ICT team, has shared her experiences of living with and beating the illness.
Mandy, who received her diagnosis in 2001, held sessions throughout October – the annual Breast Cancer Awareness Month – across our Trust and spoke with more than 1,000 people.
Our IT Trainer received the news she had the illness after finding a lump in her right breast. She visited her GP who referred her for further tests, which confirmed her diagnosis.
Mandy had a lumpectomy and her lymph nodes removed followed by radiotherapy and medication. Unfortunately, after seven years of medication and regular breast cancer screening, the cancer returned in December 2007.
Shortly after she underwent a right-side mastectomy (removal of the breast) and two years later, with clinical support, she came to a decision as a preventative measure to have her left breast removed, as well as having a double reconstruction.
Following her experience, Mandy is passionate about educating people on what to symptoms to be aware of and offering advice. One of the main things she promotes is for both women and men to check their breasts and be aware of potential warning signs.
Some of symptoms she advises to look out for are:
- Change in breast shape, size, or outline
- New or changes in discomfort or pain
- Changes in lumpines or new lumps
- Discharge or rash around the nipple
- Puckering or dimpling of the skin
- Changes in position or pulling in of the nipples
- Veins which stand out more than usual
“The aim of these sessions is about educating on what to look out for, along with sharing my story of having breast cancer.
“By detecting a change in your breasts promptly; anything that is 'different for you' is a potential warning.
means that if cancer is present the sooner it is reported and treated.
This offers greater prospects of benefit in terms of quality of life and life expectancy. More women than ever before are surviving breast cancer and I'm hoping that through these sessions women will become more aware and share this information with family and friends.
For more information about breast cancer, please see our NHS website, https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/breast-cancer/.