'You are not wasting the doctor's time' - breast cancer survivor's message
- Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021
A mum-of-three from Ipswich has spoken about the importance of women checking their breasts after a year which has seen her undergo chemotherapy, surgery and radiotherapy as part of her breast cancer treatment.
Paige Giles, 37, who has recently been told she is in remission, found a lump at the end of 2020 - when she was routinely checking herself, something she has done since she found a "fatty lump" in one of her breasts when she was younger.
Miss Giles, whose children are aged 10, eight and three, was sent for tests at Ipswich Hospital and said: "When I went for the mammogram and the biopsy, the way they spoke to me, I knew it was something sinister."
Just three days after returning to work from maternity leave and a career break, Miss Giles' breast cancer diagnosis was confirmed in January of this year, meaning she had to undergo the start of her treatment as the country was in winter lockdown.
She said: "The worst thing was being on my own at appointments - that sucked the most."
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Though Miss Giles discovered one lump herself, it was tests at the hospital that revealed there was a second lump hidden behind it, she said it it is "scary" to think that she would not have spotted it until it got much bigger because of its position.
Miss Giles, has described how difficult the year has been for her children Xander, Emilia and Dylan and partner Chris Adams, 37, and the support they have received from the Macmillan charity.
Throughout 2021 she also been sharing details of what has happened on her personal blog - 'Jaffacakes journey through cancer'
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She said: "A lot of my friends didn't check themselves but because I have been writing about everything, all the symptoms I've had, the consequences of all the medicines, I think it has put it in perspective, that rather than having to go through all of that, it is just worth checking once a while.
"A few of my friends have actually found lumps this year but all of them have been cysts, fatty lumps or blocked milk ducts but at least they checked so that is the main thing."
Miss Giles believes that many women avoid going to the doctor with lumps because they feel as they are wasting the doctor's time.
She said: "They need to go in there and get checked. They have got to stop being in the frame of mind that they are wasting the doctors time because they are not.
"Going to that appointment, starting that journey of getting it checked out is really, really important."
Though she is now in remission Miss Giles will need to have 15 Herceptin injections over the coming months and will be taking Tamoxifen for the next five years - she will also have yearly scans at Ipswich Hospital .
October is breast cancer awareness month, you can find out about how to check your breasts on the NHS website by visiting - www.nhs.uk.