A MUM of two who recently defeated breast cancer is urging other women to get themselves screened as soon as they can.
Mandy Allen, 61, from Bedhampton, lost two sisters to lung cancer, before being diagnosed with breast cancer after a routine screening.
Her plea comes as latest figures show that of the 25,901 women invited for a breast screening check in Portsmouth and south east Hampshire in 2017/18, just 72.5 per cent took up the offer.
This means 6,738 women missed out on the potentially lifesaving check.
Mandy says that there is no excuse for the thousands of women who haven’t had their breasts checked.
She said: ‘I can’t express enough times to every woman who has reached 50 years old – if you’re invited to a breast screening, for goodness sake go.
‘My cancer was already stage three, I really was lucky and it was only because I chose to go to my appointment when invited that it was found; the type of cancer I had does not show as a lump, and can only be identified by a mammogram.’
Mandy met with staff at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham, and after 15 radiotherapy sessions was ready for her operation.
The hospital is running a Breast Screen Awareness Week from today, in the hope of encouraging more women to get themselves screened.
She explained: ‘The radiotherapy was every day, and took five to 10 minutes.
‘The guys look after you so well. When you go to the waiting area, everyone there has cancer and you know you’re all in the same boat.
‘There was always someone to chat to.’
Mandy believes the operation to remove the cancer was ‘no worse than an ingrown toenail’ and that she now has a strong focus on promoting health and wellbeing after the devastating impact cancer has had on her family.
She said: ‘People panic when they hear the word cancer, but my family took the news worse than I did.
‘Because of the support you immediately receive straight after they say “cancer”, you have a huge support team around you; literally everything we needed was provided, and both my family and I were so well looked after.
‘One of my sisters died of lung cancer last year, and eight years ago my other sister died of the same disease.
‘You really have to make sure you do your very best and look after yourself.’
For more information about breast cancer screenings, go to nhs.uk/conditions/breast-cancer-screening.