Case Study. Early diagnosis can save your life.


SHEILA LEACH was putting on suncream when she found a lump in her left breast.

It was a lovely, hot summers day during July in the early 1970s. As I wasputting suntan lotion on, I felt a lump in my breast.

I lay on the sunlounger and tested it again and sure enough, it was most definitelya lump.

Mrs Leach immediately called her doctor, who saw her the following day. Twodays later she had a biopsy and, when tests proved positive, she began a courseof radiotherapy.

Her two older children stayed at home with their father and the two youngesttravelled to Manchester with her, where they stayed with relatives while sheunderwent treatment at Christies Hospital.

I was given the option of becoming an in-patient but I wanted to be with thechildren as much as possible, so my two brothers took it in turns to ferry meto and from the hospital each treatment day.

Naturally, I felt fear and worry a lot of what ifs ran through my mind,she said.

Mrs Leach said her husband was her rock during that time and support from herfamily and friends helped her through.

Just a few months after returning to the island, she was dismayed to findanother lump and this time was advised to have a mastectomy.

Since then Mrs Leach has been cancerfree, but has had regular check-ups overthe past 40 years.

She joined the Pink Ladies in 2002 and said she was thrilled the group hadreached its 10th anniversary.

I must stress how essential these check-ups are, together withself-examinations, because early diagnosis is so important for all of us.

GEP Article 1st March 2011

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