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Jane* spoke to us about their scare and experience of going to their GP.

Tell us a bit about what you knew about breast cancer before your scare?

I first came across CoppaFeel! when I was at university so I knew bits and pieces about breast cancer from what I had learnt through CoppaFeel! and seeing Kris Hallenga’s BBC documentary, ‘Dying to Live’. My grandma had breast cancer but I think it was caught early enough to be treated quite non invasively.

How did you notice your symptoms?

I was around 25 I think when I noticed some discomfort. I couldn’t feel any obvious lumps but I have no sensation from the chest down and have reduced hand function as a result of my spinal cord injury so I couldn’t be sure. I also saw nipple changes and knew this was a possible symptom to get checked out.

What did you do when you noticed a change to your chest?

Without having full sensation in my hands and chest, I wasn’t sure if what I was feeling was anything to worry about. So, I left it quite a while then finally got round to booking a doctor’s appointment. The doctor examined me and didn’t think there was much to worry about but referred me to the breast clinic at the local hospital anyway.

Attending the clinic, I was quite nervous about what I would be faced with in terms of physical access. I use a wheelchair so navigating clinics can sometimes be tricky. For the examination I was asked to transfer onto a plinth which I wasn’t prepared for but managed with help from staff as the ultrasound couldn’t be done in my chair.

The examination confirmed nothing was wrong but I felt listened to and safe in the knowledge that all avenues were being explored even if it was unlikely that there was a problem.

Has this experience impacted you in any other ways?

Overall, I don’t think I would have done anything differently except perhaps booking an appointment earlier. I would probably also call ahead to ask the clinic about what exactly would be required for the examination, just so I could be prepared for any transfers. Overall, I feel like I was lucky to have a GP who took the ‘just in case’ approach to getting things checked out so I do feel reassured by that.

*Jane is not their real name, but for reasons of retaining anonymity, we have used a different name.

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