COMMENT: Time to take responsibility for our own wellbeing

Lesley says you can keep the white stuff, thank you! 
Picture: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

LESLEY KEATING: It was almost perfect until cable firm scuppered it

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It will never happen to me’

It’s what so many people think when it comes to cancer. We see other people we know struck down by the disease, but choose to believe that we are somehow immune.

Rachel Hibbert was no different. But after she came across a lump in her breast by accident and visited her GP, she was told it was cancerous and has since been having a course of chemotherapy.

‘I was only 34 when I was diagnosed and I just thought “it will never happen to me”,’ she said.

She had a history of breast cancer in her family, but had still shut out the possibility.

Her story, told today along with those of two other women facing the threat of breast cancer, is a powerful reminder of the importance of self-checking.

Mum-of-three Kiera Baillie, also just 34, found a lump in her breast the first time she checked herself.

Diagnosed with a rare form of intensive cancer, she had a double mastectomy.

She said: ‘Checking my breasts saved my life.’

As for Emma Sunderland-Hansen, again aged just 34, she recently discovered she had the BRCA1 gene, meaning she has a higher chance of developing cancer.

She was proactive in getting tested as several women on her dad’s side had ovarian cancer.

Now she has been tested positive, she is in the process of having a double mastectomy and a hysterectomy.

The mum-of-two said: ‘I want women to get themselves tested before it is too late.’

We hope their powerful and personal messages resonate with all women – and men too, because it is equally important to self-check for signs of testicular cancer.

Don’t think that cancer always happens to somebody else.