Shani, now aged 61, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012. Due to successful treatment, ‘I am alive’ are the words she is still thrilled to be able to say today. She wants more women to have an outcome like hers.


It all started when Shani found a pea-sized lump under her right arm. She wasn’t concerned as she thought breast cancer was only shown  by lumps in the breast. She now knows how important awareness of all the symptoms can be, because the earlier breast cancer is detected, the greater the chances of survival.

Find out how to become more breast aware.

At first her lump was diagnosed as a cyst, however, soon afterwards she started to show further symptoms; her breasts were red, warm and had the look and feel of orange peel. She was recommended to a breast clinic where she received ultrasounds, biopsies and more.

On that same day Shani was told what no-one wants to hear - they were 99% sure it was breast cancer, and it had spread to her lymph nodes.

I began shaking uncontrollably. It was so much to take in. Too much. Surely they couldn’t mean me?


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Shani receiving treatment for breast cancerAmong all the shock and turmoil, Shani was told the tumour was too big to perform surgery - she would have to undergo chemotherapy to reduce the size. 

Although Shani’s treatment journey was long, amazingly her chemotherapy worked, and her tumour shrank enough to have a double mastectomy. Today she is happy to be alive and well.

However, this is not the case for some. Chemotherapy can have devastating side effects including weight loss, hair loss, hot flushes, and difficulty sleeping. Heartbreakingly, in some circumstances this gruelling treatment isn’t even effective, wasting precious time when alternatives could have been considered.

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Breast Cancer Now want to confront this problem head on, so that more women can have an outcome like Shani’s. 


That’s why we fund projects like Professor David Buckley’s in Leeds. He is testing methods to ensure every person with breast cancer is given the most appropriate treatments for them.

His team have developed a way to test early-on whether a tumour is responding to chemotherapy using a hospital scan called magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).  They have recently finished a clinical trial to test whether this method can detect changes in blood flow to the tumour after just one dose of chemotherapy, and they will be finding out the results soon.

Read more about Professor Buckley’s work.

Because of Breast Cancer Now’s generous supporters, we are finding new ways to tell if chemotherapy is working to shrink a patient’s tumour before surgery. We’re so grateful to everyone who donates.

Professor David Buckley

By donating today, you could help make sure everybody with breast cancer gets the treatments that work best for them.

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