Agincare’s Sam Duckworth’s story for Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Published: Wednesday 27th October 2021
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In light of this year’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we would like to share our friend and colleague, Sam Duckworth’s personal battle with breast cancer to help raise awareness during such a vital time.
Having had breast cancer, Sam is passionate about sharing her message, in the hope it might encourage more people to get themselves checked.
Here is Sam’s story
“In April 2019, I had been invited to take part in an early mammogram study and I thought, why not? I’m all for medical research and advancements, and if it will save one person – then job done. I hadn’t planned or ever imagined that as a result of this I would find out that I had breast cancer! I had no symptoms, I regularly checked my breasts – as far as I was concerned all was good in the world.
“When you hear those words, you can’t believe it’s happening to you and it takes a while to sink in, all I can recall is walking away from the clinic in Poole with the voice of Pete Cook & Dudley Moore in my head – “It’s cancer!” Humour and talking to people have been an integral part of the journey – it really does help, taking the stigma and secrecy out of this awful disease is so important – I say to everyone – “It’s not the c-word – it’s cancer.”
“But anyway, that’s what happened and in May, I was formally diagnosed as having a cancerous lump in my breast and lymph nodes. I was booked to have the first operation in early June and required another to remove the remaining lymph nodes. Unfortunately, the second operation did not go quite as planned and my heart decided that it wanted a little piece of the action, with my heart rate dropping dangerously low resulting in me having a week-long stay in Dorchester courtesy of our wonderful NHS and having a pacemaker fitted. Chemotherapy followed in September and then radiotherapy, and I finally was able to ring the bell to signal the end of active treatment on the 27th of February just before my 50th birthday.
“Fortunately the end result is that I am now NED, which means no evidence of disease, and in cancer terms is about the best outcome I could have wished for. I have continual check-ups and many, many scans – Amy reckons I’ve taken out shares in them. I’m well and because of early diagnosis and treatment the prognosis is very good.
“So what do I take out of all this? If you’re called up attend the appointment, check yourself, get your partner or good friend to check you and check each other – if you notice anything out of the ordinary for you – go to your GP, raise awareness of BC in men as well as women and just keep talking.” – Sam
Breast cancer awareness
The statistics show around 55,000 women and 370 men are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. It has never been so important to raise awareness and encourage others to get checked, even if you show no symptoms. Below are some of the signs to look out for.
Please contact your GP surgery or health professional if you have any of the above signs or require further information. Do not wait.