HAVING a month dedicated to raising awareness of breast cancer is important.
That is the message from cancer survivor Jackie Evans, who is backing Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The 49-year-old is sharing her story to raise awareness of breast cancer but also of the work carried out by The Haven.
Jackie, who is a volunteer at the Titchfield-based centre which supports women with breast cancer, was diagnosed in June last year after feeling a lump while trying on bras. She said: ‘After feeling the lump, I left it a week and then went to see my GP.
‘They said I needed to get to hospital so I went to Princess Anne Hospital and had a couple of scans and a biopsy. They warned me that the lump might be something and I had a feeling that it was too.’
A week later, Jackie, from Hedge End, was told the devastating news.
When I was told the cancer had gone, that’s when all the emotions hit meJackie Evans
She added: ‘It was a grade three cancer, which is the most aggressive. They said I needed to get started with treatment and I started chemotherapy on July 27.
‘They wanted to shrink the lump, which was 3cm, and try to take as little of the breast as possible. I had six treatments of chemotherapy and had surgery in December to remove a second lump found in my breast near the chest wall.’
Near the end of her treatment, Jackie joined a Facebook group for women in Hampshire with breast cancer. It was through them she heard of The Haven.
Opened in 2015 on The Square, the centre supports women in the Wessex area. It provides a range of treatments and therapies from massages to emotional support.
Jackie went to the centre and loved her experience. She said: ‘It was so peaceful and everyone was really lovely.
‘When I was told the cancer had gone, that’s when all the emotions hit me.
‘The Haven offered me relaxing therapies and emotional support, all free of charge, which helped me to get my confidence back and become a stronger person.
‘I want to spread the word about The Haven to make sure that nobody goes through this traumatic experience alone.’
Jackie was so pleased with her treatment, she now works there as a volunteer.
And, as well as spreading the word on The Haven, Jackie wants to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
She said: ‘The month is so important. It encourages women to check themselves regularly and to know there are people they can talk to. The statistics on breast cancer can be quite scary to read but there is support available.’