Emma Duncan was diagnosed with breast cancer twice in four years, once in each breast.
Her first treatment was a lumpectomy with chemotherapy and Radiotherapy . Her second treatment included a full mastectomy, removing both breasts, followed by reconstructive plastic surgery .
"I asked my GP if there was any screening programme they could put me into when I was 25, because my mother died from breast cancer when she was 32. They referred me to the Royal Victoria Infirmary ,and I used to come once a year just for a check-up.
"A few years later I was in the bath and I noticed a lump under my left armpit.I didn't quite know what to make of it.I was quite worried at first.
"I went to see my GP the next day and he suspected that it might just be a cyst, as I was only 28 at the time. But because of my family history,he referred me to a specialist.
"At the hospital, I had an ultrasound , a mammogram and a needle biopsy. When I returned a week later for the results, they confirmed that I hadbreast cancer and that I would need to come in for lumpectomy surgery10 days later.
"I had chemotherapy for six months after my first diagnosis, followed by five weeks of radiotherapy. It was really hard. All my hair fell out and it made me feel so ill.
"My husband Graham was great, and tried to support me as best he could throughout it. My sister-in-law was never off the phone and my best friend Claire was lovely.
"My sister handled it in a very different way. She had watched my mum become very poorly, and then her older sister was diagnosed. She found it hard to deal with and she just couldn't handle coming to see me. She later admitted being terrified that it might be her next.
"The second time I was diagnosed, I had a bigger operationa double mastectomy. The decision to have a mastectomy was quite easy to make. For me, it wasthe only decision, having had cancer twice.
"The reality after the event was very different. With the reconstructive surgery as well, I knew it would be a long recovery, but I don't think anything prepared me for just how long. I cried every single day because I was so uncomfortable.
"I was referred to a psychologist, who told me I wasn't going mad. Anyone who'd been through what I had would be expected to have a few tearful days. Things settled down, then it was just a case of trying to get back to normal.
"Looking back at everything, I wouldn't have changed my decision at all. It was definitely for the best.
"I now have check-ups every six months with my oncologist, breast surgeons, and at the family clinic. I see my plastic surgeon, my geneticist, and have an ultrasound once a year, plus a blood test every four months as part of the ovarian screening programme.
"The Macmillan breast care nurses ring me up every once in a while to keep me up-to-date and check that I'm all right. I'm very well looked after.
"Now I just want to stay cancer free. I've done as much as I possibly can to prevent it from coming back or getting a new cancer.I didn't quite make it after my first diagnosis, but I'd like to get through the next five years without the cancer returning.
"My advice to other women would be to speak to your breast care nurse or go on the Cancer Research UK or Breast Cancer Care websites. There are so many recognised sources of information.
"The internet is full of horror stories, so make sure you get as much information as you canfrom reputable sources."
Breast cancer (cancer of the mammary glands) is a condition that has been known since ancient times, and exhibits itself as one of the most prevalent conditions of the modern world. This is one of the most common types of cancer, and is often one of the main causes of death for women worldwide. Cancers of the mammary gland usually affect females, and is 100 times more likely to occur in women rather than men.
The first symptom of breast cancer most women notice is a lump or an area of thickened tissue in their breast. Most Breast lump (90%) aren't cancerous, but it's always best to have them checked by your doctor.
Read about the causes of breast cancer, which aren't fully understood. There are some risk factors that are known to affect your likelihood of developing breast cancer, however.
If you notice a lump in your breast or any change in the appearance, feel or shape of your breasts, see a doctor. If you have suspected breast cancer, either because of your symptoms or because your mammogram has shown an abnormality, you'll be referred to a specialist breast cancer clinic for further tests.
Surgery is usually the first type of treatment for breast cancer. The type of surgery you undergo will depend on the type of breast cancer you have. Surgery is usually followed by chemotherapy or radiotherapy or, in some cases, hormone or biological treatments.
Most women with breast cancer have an operation as part of their treatment. Getting back to normal after surgery can take some time. It's important to take things slowly and give yourself time to recover.
As the causes of breast cancer aren't fully understood, it's not known if it can be prevented altogether. Some treatments are available to reduce the risk in women who have a higher risk of developing the condition than the general population.
This is the story of Emma Duncan who was diagnosed with breast cancer twice in four years, once in each breast. "Now I just want to stay cancer free" she says.
Breast cancer (cancer of the mammary glands) is a condition that has been known since ancient times, and exhibits itself as one of the most prevalent conditions of the modern world.
Any woman should be able to perform regular self-examinations. It is recommended to perform this examination when you are taking a shower, or in front of the mirror, holding both arms above and behind the head in order to examine the shape and size.
In the majority of cases, breast cancer is not accompanied by any sort of pain or obvious symptoms. At times, when touching a small nodule present some pain may be felt, which is why continuous, routine self-examinations are highly recommended, especially for age groups at risk.
In the majority of cases, the disease develops in complete absence of clinical symptoms. Since it is a mostly asymptomatic disease, it is rendered even more dangerous.
During palpation using the fingertips, you may feel a round mass, usually ranging from the size of a hazelnut to the size of a walnut, or even larger. The nodule can be firm or soft, with an uneven surface, separated from the tissue around it, or attached to the tissue around it and mobile.
The most common types of breast cancer include Non-invasive breast cancer and Invasive breast cancer. Less common are Morbus Paget, Erysipelas, and Occult carcinoma of the breast.
The causes of breast cancer remain unknown. Despite this, there are several risk factors that all patients should be aware of such as age, family history, weight, giving birth, breastfeeding, and lifestyle habits.
It is important to conduct a thorough examination of both breasts as well. During the examination of the patient, the scale of the tumor (how far it has already spread, or whether it has spread) is ascertained.
Since the causes of breast cancer are not known, prevention is difficult. Nevertheless, several risk factors (weight, physical activity, less alcohol) are important to note, since they can be controlled and minimized
Treatment of breast cancer is highly complex, and is predominantly dependent on how early the cancer is diagnosed, and at what stage it is detected.