PUBLISHED ON: 2 October 2020

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. 

Georgina smiling with her cat

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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