Janet’s letter was a lifesaver

22 Sep 2023 08:49
Published by: Scott Callan

A BREAST cancer survivor has spoken about how a letter inviting her to a mammogram appointment potentially saved her life.
Janet Willcock, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2022, praised the staff at Bolton’s Breast Unit for their “phenomenal” care and support.
And as a thank you the 71-year-old has donated a Dyson fan worth more than £500 to the unit at Royal Bolton Hospital.
Janet, from Bury, was diagnosed after she took up her invite for a routine mammogram appointment.
She said: “It was a shock to have to face up to it, but we found the strength and we were determined that it wouldn’t intrude into our lives. We can honestly say that we managed that incredibly well. The care and support was phenomenal.”
By the end of January 2023 Janet had received surgery to remove the cancer, with the course of radiotherapy finished by the start of April, something Janet puts down to not delaying going for her scan.
She said: “Do not ignore the opportunity for a mammogram. I thought I was invincible, that it’s not going to get me. Then you suddenly find yourself on this treadmill.
“I nearly delayed the appointment because I had a bad back at the time. I am so glad that I went because another appointment might have been further down the line. If you need to go, go, it’s important that you take up the offer.
“I can sit here and smile because I feel so lucky. I feel so lucky to have met who I met, and to come out of it with a positive outcome.”
Janet, who returned to the unit to present her gift, said: “It’s so emotional returning here, as it’s been an amazing journey. I’ve said to people if you have got to do the breast cancer journey, then mine has been fantastic.
“Everyone I met was so welcoming and caring. Even down to the porter who took us to nuclear medicine. I hadn’t been able to eat ahead of my scan and the natural route would take me past the restaurant.
“He found a different route so that the smell of food wouldn’t tease me, I thought how lovely it was. Everybody has been amazing, supportive and kind. The whole process has been like clockwork.”
Janet has donated a Dyson Pure Cool fan through Our Bolton NHS Charity for the unit’s waiting room to improve comfort for staff and patients.
She said: “I was touched by the care I received. General advice is in a book or a leaflet, but the staff were providing care and advice that felt personal to me.
“That’s why I wanted to donate something that could be benefit everybody, and for it to be something tangible. It’s the little things that can make your whole journey a lot more comfortable.”
Bolton NHS Foundation Trust provides screening for women aged 50-71 once every three years in the areas covered by the Bolton, Bury and Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale Clinical Commissioning Groups.

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