Health advocate first mistook her cancerous lump as perimenopause symptom

This Morning: Breast cancer examination

“In February 2022, I found a lump in my right breast,” Anita told

Having previously worked in palliative care and having taught breast cancer awareness to others, Anita would regularly check her breasts.

However, being perimenopausal, Anita “put it down to [her] body changing”.

Yet, a seed had been planted; “my breasts had felt tender for some time”, Anita told herself – and so alarm bells rang.

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“I managed to get a GP appointment within a couple of days,” Anita recalled.

“My doctor couldn’t even feel the lump, but luckily agreed to give me a two-week referral to the breast clinic.”

Anita shared: “I went on my own because some part of me believed it was just a cyst.

“But I could tell the radiographer had seen something on my mammogram, and when they called me back to repeat it, I knew something was wrong.”

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Told she had stage two breast cancer, Anita broke down into tears; all those years working in a hospice made her feel as though she was now going to die.

“A breast care nurse was sent to see me because I was so upset, but she just started talking to me about chemotherapy, which made me even more upset,” Anita remembered.

The tumour was 1.8cm and hadn’t spread elsewhere in her body; Anita had a lumpectomy in May of that year.

Anita’s treatment has been brutal, with her describing it as the “worst thing” she’s ever had to deal with in her life.

“I have suffered fatigue, nausea, sore mouth, lost my sense of taste… lost my hair.”

Anita said: “After my final cycle of chemotherapy in October I will have three weeks of radiotherapy and then five years of hormone treatment.”

Amazed by the treatment options now available to those who have cancer, Anita raised funds for Cancer Research UK by taking part in the 100-mile walking challenge.

“I was so impressed with how far research had come and wanted to make a contribution,” Anita shared.

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