Patients rate cancer care as among the best in the country
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