Lancaster breast cancer survivor urges women to take up offer of screening
A woman who survived breast cancer is urging others to take up the opportunity to have screening as she says “early diagnosis is a lifesaver”.
Kath Foster, a retired teacher from Lancaster, is raising awareness of the importance of screening during national Breast Cancer Awareness Month and is urging women to “just do it!”
“I’m alive and happy because I had screening and my cancer was picked up early enough to be successfully treated,” said Kath.
“Length of survival and quality of life are all dependent on early diagnosis and treatment. If you are concerned and even if you don’t have any symptoms, see your GP. You’re not wasting anyone’s time. I can’t stress enough how much an early diagnosis will prevent much greater heartbreak later in life.”
Breast screening had caught the cancer at ‘stage one’ but it could have been a different story, according to Kath.
She said: “When I explained to the breast care nurse that, even when I knew I was being recalled after my routine screening mammogram, I could not detect the lump by examination, she said that it might have been a couple of years before the lump was big enough for me to have detected it.
Kath said the staff working for University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT) have been “extremely kind” to her.
“Every single time I have felt comfortable with the person who was doing the mammogram.”
Carly Taylor, Breast Screening Navigator for UHMBT, said: “The North Lancashire and South Cumbria Breast Screening Programme invites around 125,000 women every three years for screening. The screening is organized according to your GP practice. Once every three years eligible women registered with a GP practice will be routinely invited for screening.
“The aim of breast screening is to detect breast cancer at an earlier stage, often before you are aware of any problem. Currently, the NHS Breast Screening Programme saves an estimated 1,400 lives each year in England.
“We would encourage all women who receive an invite to come and attend their breast screening.”
For further information about the Breast Screening Service at UHMBT please go to: https://www.uhmb.nhs.uk/hospitals/royal-lancaster-infirmary/breast-screening/
You can also make an appointment to see your GP if you have any concerns.