A powerful campaign urging everyone to carry out potentially life-saving checks against breast cancer is driving home its message during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The Vet Your Breasts campaign brought back memories for Dunedin Vets Clinical Director Margot Hunter, who overcame her own battle against the disease.
Now, 10 years clear of cancer, Margot is backing the campaign to encourage the veterinary profession to check their breasts while changing their scrubs…..
Since joining VetPartners, I’ve seen the exceptional support given to our family of practices. Whether it is wellbeing, mental health or support in the workplace, everyone needs help at some point in their life.
Some people suffer in silence because they don’t want a personal health battle to become public knowledge, but support is always within reach.
When I read about the Vet Your Breasts campaign, launched by Gloucestershire vet Anna Beber, urging everyone to carry out regular checks, it brought memories flooding back for me personally.
Ten years ago, I was getting ready for a night out when I felt a small, firm nodule in my left armpit. Maybe not everyone would think breast cancer, but I did.
I visited my GP and was immediately referred to the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh. Within a fortnight, I had scans, x-rays and biopsies and the results confirmed I had breast cancer, with spread to lymph nodes in my axilla.
The nurses and surgeon were amazing: They discussed everything that could happen and what I would like to have happen. I threw caution to the wind, asking for radical surgery, followed by six months of chemotherapy and a month of radiotherapy.
I agreed to have blood tests for research projects, which might help others. I had a mastectomy on my son’s seventh birthday and my daughter hadn’t yet started school. Explaining breast cancer to young children is so difficult.
I recovered from surgery, but often felt mentally drained and needing support.
I started chemotherapy, sitting for a day in hospital every three weeks, whilst drugs were pumped into my veins, on a ward where so many others were undergoing similar treatment.
My hair fell out, but unlike some, this did not have a great effect on me. I had an acute anaphylactic reaction to one of the drugs and had to be revived, but I got through the chemotherapy.
I was told I could not be near animals, so my veterinary career went on hold. I did whatever I could in the admin department, whenever I felt able, before undergoing reconstructive surgery.
Last year, I was signed off from hospital. I am officially cancer-free. I shook my surgeon’s hand and thanked him so much.
At the centre of the Vet Your Breasts campaign is a poster featuring the eight main early signs of breast cancer, as well as the direct message to the vet profession: “Vet your breasts whilst changing your scrubs – you could save your life.”
I would wholeheartedly encourage everyone to do this because it could save a life – your own.
Breast cancer affects one in eight women and many men too. I am sure there must be many VetPartners colleagues who are or have been affected by breast cancer. I am happy to talk if anyone needs support….
- VetPartners is proud to sponsor Veterinary Woman’s powerful new campaign, Women’s Health Month. Veterinary Woman is bringing challenging health topics, including breast cancer, menopause, infertility and baby loss, to the fore throughout October and November, and exploring how the profession can better support these individuals in the workplace.
- More than 1,000 posters for the Vet Your Breasts campaign have been displayed in practices across the UK.
- For more information on the campaign, visit the Vet Your Breasts website https://www.vetyourbreasts.com/
For media enquiries, please contact Amanda Little, VetPartners Senior PR and Communications Manager, on 07970 198 492 or email email@example.com