Denise was diagnosed with breast cancer aged 53 in December 2015, after finding a lump in her left breast. She shares her story as a media volunteer to help raise awareness of cancer and funds for our life saving research.
“On 18th December, I had a biopsy and on Christmas Eve, my results confirmed that it was indeed invasive ductal carcinoma. They had found a 3cm lump. It was Grade 2, ER/PR positive and HER2 negative.
“I was due to go to Cornwall for Christmas which was good timing. I 'parked' my cancer problem for a few days while I was there. Christmas is a time for celebrations, and I didn’t want to over worry myself and my loved ones. I saw it as a health tonic being near to the sea and lots of beautiful countryside. I made sure that I slept and ate well and exercised as I knew the road ahead would require a good level of fitness.
“On 30th December, I met my surgeon, and my medical journey began. I had surgery to remove the cancer on 4 February 2016 (World Cancer Day). And then a lymph node clearance on 24th Feb. I had 21 days of radiotherapy and then started taking tamoxifen which I will continue to have for another seven years. Then in Jan 2017, I had further surgery to reduce and reshape the right breast to match the left breast.
How I'm helping others
"Now, I try to raise awareness of cancer and its impact. I even helped open my local CRUK charity shop. This year, my story appears in the Christmas Raffle pack that goes out to supporters around the country. I am always happy to help as a media volunteer whenever I can.”