Sarah Harding: Dr Hilary outlines breast cancer symptoms
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When Janet Moffatt, 59, showed her GP the lump, she was told it was a lipoma – a fatty tumour – which could be removed after the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the gran of six waited for months – as the pandemic continued – without surgery and found the lump began to protrude further and the appearance of her breast changed.
Janet attended another GP appoitment in May 2021 – 11 months after her first – and was referred to hospital specialists, who diagnosed breast cancer which had spread to her liver.
Despite four courses of chemotherapy to shrink her breast tumour since, the mother of three has been told the cancer is incurable.
She has now instructed specialist medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate whether her cancer could have been diagnosed sooner.
Speaking to Yorkshire Live, Janet said: “I’m trying to remain upbeat and positive. I’m still young and want to be here for my family and create more memories with them but it’s sometimes difficult when I face an uncertain future.
“I have a number of concerns about what happened during the time when I was seeking advice before my diagnosis and feel I deserve answers.
“By sharing my story I hope that I can help others. It’s important people feel they don’t have to suffer alone as help and support is out there.”
Janet had to quit her job as a cleaner shortly after her diagnosis.
The woman, from Pontefract, West Yorkshire, is receiving injections to slow the growth of her cancer and increase her survival time.
But the diagnosis has had a significant impact on her life.
She added: “The chemotherapy was hard both physically and emotionally. Each round of treatment seemed to get harder, I had less energy and nothing seemed to help with my sickness.
“I’ve been told that I reacted well with regards to shrinking the tumour so am now on medication to try and shrink this further. However, I may have to have chemotherapy in the future.
“Nothing prepared me for when I was told I had cancer.
“I was booked in at the hospital for an urgent appointment. By this time I feared the worst.”
The mother first noticed her lump when taking a shower in June 2020, early into the coronavirus pandemic.
Supporting World Cancer Day today (Friday), Janet wants to encourage others – both men and women – to check for lumps on their body.
Janet continued: “After I attended my (initial) appointment I felt reassured and even more so when I checked myself further at home and didn’t find anything else.
“I carried on as normal because there appeared to have been no cause for concern.
“After a couple of months the lump had got a little bigger but wasn’t painful. I thought it best to check with the surgery again but was told they weren’t performing minor surgeries.
“After a few months I started to notice changes so I went back to the surgery. A nurse looked at the lump and believed it may be breast cancer.
“From there everything seemed to move so quickly.”
Victoria Moss, the expert medical negligence solicitor at Irwin Mitchell representing Janet, said: “Janet and her family are devastated by her diagnosis.
“Understandably she has a number of questions about her diagnosis and what the future holds.
“Through our work, we sadly see the impact that breast cancer can have and how early detection and treatment are key to beating it.
“We’re continuing to support Janet as we investigate her concerns to provide her with the answers she deserves.
“In the meantime she hopes that by sharing her story Janet can help others be aware of the signs and symptoms or breast cancer as well the importance of people regularly examining themselves, taking part in the screening programme, and seeking medical advice if needed.”
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