Fiona Lochhead, from Aberdeen, was di­ag­nosed with breast can­cer when she was 43 years old...

No. 1 Magazine - - FRONT PAGE -

In my 40s, I spent a lot of time look­ing af­ter my­self. I was go­ing to the gym a lot, watch­ing what I was eat­ing and start­ing to use more ex­pen­sive mois­turiser. How­ever, the one thing I wasn’t do­ing was check­ing my breasts for any lumps. I thought I was at low risk for breast can­cer be­cause I hadn’t reached my 50s yet, had no fam­ily his­tory of it and lived a gen­er­ally healthy life­style. But it just goes to show, any­one can be di­ag­nosed with breast can­cer. I re­mem­ber be­ing in the shower when my hand brushed against quite a size­able lump. It felt like a firm ball. The first thing I thought was ‘how can that be there?’ and ‘how hadn’t I no­ticed it be­fore?’ I was quite per­plexed to be­gin with be­cause I had no idea how long it had been there. This thought played over and over in my head for weeks. I was also feel­ing quite un­well but I hadn’t re­ally con­nected the two. I was stressed at work but I never took the time to won­der what these symp­toms could be. I soon found out that the two were re­lated. Af­ter an ap­point­ment at the doc­tors, I got an ur­gent re­fer­ral to the hos­pi­tal. I went in at 9am for a mam­mo­gram and, af­ter a series of tests, came out with a can­cer di­ag­no­sis at 1pm. It all hap­pened re­ally quickly. I was di­ag­nosed with an ag­gres­sive, triple neg­a­tive can­cer that had al­ready spread to my lymph nodes. The prog­no­sis for breast can­cer can be quite good if you catch it quickly, but if you’re not check­ing your breasts you prob­a­bly won’t find it early. One of the most dif­fi­cult things I had to deal with was know­ing that, had I been check­ing sooner, I could have found my can­cer ear­lier. This is why I urge ev­ery­one to check them­selves for any changes reg­u­larly. It’s so im­por­tant to know your body and be breast aware.

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