Pa­tients rate can­cer care as among the best in the coun­try

Macclesfield Express - - BARLOW’S BRIEF -

ABREAST can­cer sur­vivor has told her story – and sent a stark warn­ing to oth­ers.

Joanna Field­ing, 37, went to her doc­tor three years ago with a stab­bing pain and a lump in her breast. She had an ul­tra sound scan at Mac­cles­field Hos­pi­tal and went home re­lieved to have the all-clear.

Joanna started train­ing for the Manch­ester marathon to raise money for the Gen­e­sis Breast Can­cer Preven­tion – glad not to need its help at that time.

But three months later in Jan­uary 2012 at a rou­tine follow-up ap­point­ment and biopsy Joanna, who lives in Chelford, had a shock di­ag­no­sis that she had breast can­cer.

She un­der­went a mas­tec­tomy to re­move the can­cer fol­lowed by chemo­ther­apy and ra­dio­ther­apy at Wythen­shawe Hos­pi­tal.

She had 28 lymph nodes re­moved – the can­cer was in 27 of them – leav­ing her with lym­phedema, which causes a build up of fluid un­der the skin, and sadly un­able to have chil­dren.

Joanna, a project man­age­ment as­sis­tant at Net­work Rail, had her other breast re­moved and re­con­struc­tive surgery in Septem­ber 2013.

She said: “I would tell any­one to lis­ten to their bod­ies, go to the doc­tor and don’t be shy about ask­ing for a sec­ond opin­ion.

“When I was di­ag­nosed I was with my mum and we cried. The can­cer must have been there at my first scan. Inside I was scream­ing – how could they get it so wrong?

“It couldn’t have come at a worse time. I wanted to meet Mr Right and start a fam­ily, but in­stead was strug­gling to come to terms with hair loss, hideous surgery and never hav­ing chil­dren.”

Joanna is telling her story in breast can­cer aware­ness month, with events tak­ing place for Wear It Pink day on Fri­day, Oc­to­ber 24.

Joanna, who is still hop­ing to take part in a mara- thon for Gen­e­sis Breast Can­cer Preven­tion, said: “You’re never too young to get can­cer. I want to help all the women I can not to go through this. If I’d not gone back to hos­pi­tal after those three months I doubt I would be here.

“Now I’m grate­ful for ev­ery day.”

An East Cheshire NHS Trust spokesper­son said: “While breast can­cer largely af­fects post-menopausal women, it can oc­cur at much younger ages, es­pe­cially for those with a strong fam­ily his­tory of breast can­cer.

“We would urge any women who find a lump or no­tice any un­usual changes in their breasts to see their GPs straight away as early di­ag­no­sis can save lives.”

Go to wear­it­pink.org. for more in­for­ma­tion. CAN­CER care at Mac­cles­field Hos­pi­tal has been hailed as among the best in coun­try.

East Cheshire NHS Trust, which runs the hos­pi­tal, came fifth in a league ta­ble mea­sur­ing pa­tient ex­pe­ri­ence across Eng­land.

Among the 70 ques­tions pa­tients were asked in the an­nual NHS Eng­land survey were: Whether their di­ag­no­sis and treat­ment op­tions were ex­plained clearly to them; whether they felt sup­ported in their care; and whether they felt they were treated with re­spect.

From 136 re­sponses Mac­cles­field Hos­pi­tal was ranked in the top 20 per cent 41 times and only once in the bot­tom 20 per cent.

Can­cer ser­vices at Mac­cles­field Hos­pi­tal are pro­vided in the Macmil­lan Can­cer Re­source Cen­tre. They in­clude treat­ment, ther­a­pies, ad­vice, coun­selling and re­search.

Fay Scul­lion, gen­eral man­ager for Macmil­lan Can­cer Support for North­ern Eng­land, con­grat­u­lated the hos­pi­tal on its achieve­ment.

She said: “We con­grat­u­late East Cheshire NHS Trust for achiev­ing some of the best re­sults in the re­cent pa­tient ex­pe­ri­ence survey.

“We know that the support and care peo­ple re­ceive is as im­por­tant as their ac­tual treat­ment, and can make all the dif­fer­ence be­tween cop­ing with can­cer and find­ing it a real strug­gle.

“For ex­am­ple, be­ing told about fi­nan­cial help that is avail­able, or be­ing pro­vided with high­qual­ity in­for­ma­tion about their can­cer and its treat­ment.”

The four trusts above Mac­cles­field in the ta­ble were South Ty­ne­side NHS Foun­da­tion Trust, Gateshead Health NHS Foun­da­tion Trust, Har­ro­gate and Dis­trict NHS Foun­da­tion Trust and St He­lens and Knowsley Teach­ing Hos­pi­tals NHS Trust.

In last year’s survey East Cheshire NHS Trust was ranked sec­ond of all trusts in Eng­land after it was ranked in the top 20 per cent 43 times.

●» Joanna Field­ing

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