Georgina had no history of breast cancer in her family and believed that she was too young to develop the disease when she was diagnosed.
I felt lucky for the random selection
I was randomly selected for a mammogram when I was 48 as part of a trial assessing the age caps on them. It was in a mobile unite outside Selby hospital, and, shortly after, I was given an appointment at York hospital.
They weren’t sure about what they’d found, so I had to have a surgical biopsy. I was shocked when I was told that something worrying had been seen – I felt that I was too young.
When the results came back, I was officially diagnosed with breast cancer. It was grade one, so it had been found very early.
I felt so lucky for the random selection, but also surprised as I'd never had a relative with breast cancer. I was prepared to deal with whatever had to happen, but I hoped that there wouldn't be much more to go through.
My friends supported me
I was told I’d need surgery to see if all the affected cells had been removed, but they hadn’t - so I needed surgery a third time for the same reason. I’d got to the stage where, if this surgery didn’t work, a mastectomy (my worst nightmare) might be needed. Thankfully, after the third surgery, I was told that all the cancerous cells were gone.
Two months later, I had three weeks of daily radiotherapy. I finished my treatment in January 2019.
My friends had offered me support immediately, and I made sure to keep my brothers informed about what was going on. I also had a friend with me at two or three of the appointments.
I was alone a lot
However, I was on my own a lot during the treatment. During the surgery, I never stayed the night at hospital. I was told that I could be at home, but that I had to have someone with me. I only did once. The other two times, I was on my own but told the hospital that I wasn't - I didn’t really have any other options. My brothers couldn't stay with me, and they didn't have the facilities for me to stay with them.
I didn't mind because I prefer being at home and was sure I would be ok. Plus, my brothers took me to and from the hospital, so I wasn’t totally alone.
A York cancer charity took me to and from the radiotherapy with other cancer patients, which was helpful.
I seemed to do ok with the radiotherapy overall, and fortunately didn’t really suffer with the many possible side effects. I did have to take time off from my regular volunteering and, at other times, couldn't do as much as usual, but I was able to get back to it after a few weeks.
Mammograms should be more widely available
On the whole, I feel lucky and amazed with what happened. I also feel shocked as well! I survived being hit by a bus earlier on in my life, and didn’t think anything else quite that bad would happen to me!
Because of my experience, I think that mammograms should be offered to people under 50. I also think people should be able to insist on more help from the hospital. I’m quite tough, but I don’t think others should have to cope alone.
Nearly one million women in the UK have missed potentially lifesaving NHS breast screening due to COVID-19. We are calling on Governments and NHS bodies across the UK to set out how the anticipated influx in demand for imaging and diagnostics will be met. Read our press release.
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