The language of cancer

Firstly, I realise that I've left those of you who don't follow me on Twitter or Facebook anxiously waiting to hear the results of my tests, and I'm truly sorry. I'm delighted to be able to tell you that everything was clear, and my lymph nodes were just reactive - enlarged because of a bad cold I had.

I now feel really guilty about sharing the anxiety and dread that I was feeling. It's bad enough that my family and close friends had to suffer with me, and I didn't need to bring everyone else along for the ride. At the time, I wanted people to know just how strong the scanxiety can be, and how we have to carry on as if everything is normal whilst waiting for the results. If there is a next time, I promise not to do it in real time! Read More…

Tamoxifen to prevent breast cancer?

The Independent and the Daily Telegraph published articles yesterday saying that less than half of all GPs knew that Tamoxifen can reduce the risk of breast cancer, and that they are denying women this cheap drug that could slash their
risk of breast cancer by 40%.

I thought I'd try and explain this a little, as it's not as simple as - take Tamoxifen and you won't get breast cancer. It may be that GPs need to be educated about the benefits of Tamoxifen, but we also need to educate the patients so they can make their own, well-informed choice.
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....and relax

If you remember, I was waiting to see my surgeon to have my neck nodes looked at. It was meant to be Friday but my surgeon was poorly, and so my appointment was moved to Tuesday. However, last Thursday night I was having a rummage around. I'd seen my GP who couldn't feel any other nodes, but I thought I'd double check. And I found a couple of large lymph nodes in my right armpit (the other side to my original breast cancer). And this worried me a lot more than the neck nodes.


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World Cancer Day

As a breast surgeon, I was always vaguely aware of World Cancer Day, but the significance of it passed me by. And then I got diagnosed with breast cancer myself, and I went from being a doctor to a patient, having the very illness that I was an expert in. I never thought breast cancer could happen to me, and I didn't check my breasts regularly – which goes against everything I tell my patients. But I did get cancer, and I got the full works when it came to treatment, as you all know. Five months of chemotherapy, a mastectomy and implant reconstruction, followed by further lymph node removal and then radiotherapy. The finishing touch was an instant chemical menopause, which was not what I had planned at the age of 40. Read More…
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