How a Few Words Saved My Life

When Irene was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2020, she was so grateful for all her family support. However, she was even more grateful to the kind words of encouragement that prompted her to check her breasts.


A nurse prompted me to check myself 

I was initially prompted to examine my breasts after going for a routine smear test. Jenny, the nurse, asked if I’d checked myself recently, and I joked that, ‘I wouldn’t know what was a lump or a bump’. Being well-endowed, I’d just relied on routine mammograms to check for anything. 

‘Just check,’ the nurse said as I walked out the door. 

Later, I thought more about it. I go for smear tests and mammograms regularly, so why don’t I also check my breasts myself? I went for a shower and found a distinct lump straight away. Thinking back, I’d been feeling some unusual sensations in my breast, but I put it down to hormones. 

I was diagnosed with grade 2 breast cancer in February 2020.  


Self examination is so important

If I hadn’t checked myself my I wouldn’t be here now. That’s why I’m a volunteer for Act on Cancer Together

ACT was formed to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms cancer in Brighton and Hove. It has also been promoting the importance of self examination and screening, with volunteers sharing their individual experiences of cancer.   

I will always remember that it was only because Jenny prompted me that I checked myself. If I hadn’t, things could have been very different. She might have saved my life.  

I feel that I can make my own cancer experience a positive one if I can help other people be more aware and encourage them to check themselves. I want to be that voice for someone else, the one that prompted me to ‘just do it’  That is why ACT is so important.

If you'd like to join Irene as a volunteer for ACT and help support local people with cancer prevention and support, get in touch. 

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