A mother and daughter from Newtownabbey have become ambassadors for local charity Action Cancer.
Thelma Cobain and her daughter, Gaby Brady are sharing their story of how breast cancer has affected their family and how early detection through Action Cancer’s breast screening service may well have saved Thelma’s life.
They are encouraging women aged 40- 49 and 70 plus (outside of the NHS screening age) to book a free breast screening appointment with Action Cancer.
Thelma said: “I attended Action Cancer House for a mammogram in January 2012 and this is when something showed up on the x-ray in my right breast. The staff in the clinic explain everything to you and the whole process from start to finish only takes 15 minutes.
“Within the next two weeks I received a letter from Action Cancer and I was referred for further testing at Belfast City Hospital. Here it was confirmed that there was a small cancerous lump in my right breast and that the cancer had spread into my lymph nodes. This came as a shock to me because there was no indication that anything was wrong. Nine years previously I had the same cancer diagnosis in my left breast which was then removed through a mastectomy and I had to undergo chemotherapy. I thought ‘Why me? Not again’.
“As it turned out the second time round I had a mastectomy but not chemotherapy, as due to my other medical conditions it was thought to be too risky so I just had medication to take. The operation left me with a long recovery process.”
She added: “If it wasn’t for the screening at Action Cancer I don’t know how long it would have taken for me to find a lump or to feel unwell. I can honestly say that I am convinced that the breast screening service at Action Cancer saved my life. Now I am doing really well. I am back helping out in the family clothing business in Belfast and I am enjoying life and am so thankful that I am still here to watch my five grandsons grow up. I can testify to the fact that early detection saves lives.”
Gaby explained why she too is getting behind Action Cancer’s breast cancer awareness campaign.
“As a family we feel very grateful to Action Cancer for detecting mum’s breast cancer. Mum would have always regularly checked her breasts given her cancer history, but before she attended her screening appointment there were no tell tale signs.
“Since mum’s diagnosis I have myself been to Action Cancer House for screening and was relieved when I found out that everything was clear.
“I am encouraging all my friends and women in their 40s in general to get themselves checked out and make use of the free service at Action Cancer. I know women my age can have extremely busy lives but my message is not to make excuses, but to make an appointment. It could save your life.”
To book a breast screening appointment log on to www.actioncancer.org or call 028 9080 3344.