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Mum urges women to check bodies as part of Breast Cancer Awareness month
3:01pm Wednesday 31st October 2012 in News
Watford mother Marion Palmer is urging women to check their bodies regularly for signs of cancer, and part of Breast Cancer Awareness month.
In October last year, Mrs Palmer, 51, discovered three lumps, two in one breast and one in the other while taking a bath.
She went to her GP and was referred the following day to consultant surgeon and breast care specialist, Murid Chaudary at Spire Bushey Hospital.
Mrs Palmer, of Bovingdon Crescent, Garston, said: "I’d check my body from time-to-time, but not that regularly.
"When I discovered the lumps, I was worried, but I had a feeling that it could be cancer, I just knew, so I wasn’t that surprised when I was told."
The mother-of-two underwent a mammogram, a biopsy and an ultrasound, which highlighted that in her left breast she had a benign tumour and fatty tissue, and in her right, breast cancer.
She attended scans and tests regularly, visiting the hospital 11 times in the first two weeks after diagnosis.
Her treatment plan involved a lumpectomy, followed by six rounds of chemotherapy and three and a half weeks of radiotherapy, but despite this she continued to work throughout her treatment.
Mrs Palmer underwent planned breast surgery consisting of a lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy, which resulted in complete microscopic clearance of her tumour.
The sentinel node biopsy involves the surgeon injecting a radioactive substance and/or a blue dye to detect the first lymph node (the sentinel node) that the cancer is most likely to spread to. The sentinel node is removed and examined in the laboratory for cancer cells.
She experienced side effects of cancer treatment which included nausea and hair loss, and to begin with she found losing her hair extremely upsetting; crying for three days. However, she enjoyed experimenting with different wigs and this helped her to get some confidence back.
From diagnosis and throughout treatment, Marion says her friends, family and workmates have been a fantastic support. She will be taking medication until April next year, but her hair is slowly growing back and Marion is feeling positive about her future.
She said: "If I had just relied on the mammogram, the breast cancer would have gone undetected, it was pretty hidden.
"But the bioposy and ultrasound did detect it. Apart from advising women to check their bodies regularly I would say, if you think something is wrong, then push the doctors to delve further.
"As I said, the mammogram, which usually detects cancerous tissue, didn’t find mine. But it was the biopsy that helped essentially save my life."