October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Former patient, Karen Chin, is urging women to be more breast aware.
Karen, of The Rowlands in Biggleswade, said: “I was diagnosed in March 2009. I’d gone to Disneyland in Paris with my kids and I got sick over that weekend.
“I’d always been one of those people that are breast aware and after I came home I found a lump.
“It was huge and the week before that it wasn’t there.”
Karen, now 45, went to the doctor on the advice of her husband and she was sent to the hospital for tests.
The mother-of-two had to wait five “horrific” days to find out whether she had cancer before being diagnosed with an aggressive variety. She was whisked into chemotherapy that week.
Karen said: “My view is not so much checking but being breast aware. The hard thing with a lot of women is thinking ‘what if I miss a lump?’
“I think it’s just knowing what your breasts are like at particular times of the month with and without your period.
“If you feel anything that’s out of the ordinary get it checked without fail.
“A doctor would rather you do that. When I went I said sorry for wasting my doctor’s time but he said I was right to come.
“We have it in the mind that we are wasting their time but the quicker you get treated the better your survival chances.”
Karen has now had a double mastectomy and she is cancer free.
Last September Karen’s mother, Olive Buchan was also diagnosed with breast cancer.
The disease was picked up because Olive went for a mammogram screening check on the Saxon Gate estate.
Olive, who lives in Biggleswade, had to arrange her own appointment because women over the age of 70 are not invited to come for screenings, although they can book of their own accord.
Olive, 76, did not find a lump but it was picked up on the screening.
Her early diagnosis meant that she did not have to have chemotherapy. Olive continued to attend mammogram screenings because of Karen’s previous illness.
Karen urges all women to continue to attend the screenings, even when they are over the age of 70, because it could help them to be diagnosed and ultimately save their life.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month was first started in 1985. People are encouraged to be more breast aware.