A nurse whose early cancer diagnosis helped save her life is raising awareness of the important of self-examinaton after discovering a hard-to-find lump.
Katrina Turner, 36, an orthopaedics nurse at Musgrave Park Hospital in Belfast, found out that she had stage two invasive lobular carcinoma in October 2016.
Since then, she has undergone surgery, weeks of radiotherapy and will receive hormone treatment for the next five years but was warned by doctors that had she not discovered the lump so early, her prognosis could have been much worse.
“My consultant said I was lucky to have found the lump because it was on the inner side of the breast, towards the breast bone and was deep into the tissue,” she told .
”But because I had been checking regularly for years, I recognised it was different.
“And that’s what I want people to do; look out for changes and seek medical help if they find something of concern”.
Turner believes that self-examination ultimately saved her life and is urging both men and women to become more breast aware.
Furniture for a cancer treatment centre – In pictures Furniture for a cancer treatment centre – In pictures
“It’s so so important to try to overcome the fear of finding a change in your body, by checking for it, as it really could make all the difference,” she added.
“The bottom line is that if I had not been self-checking I may not have found that lump until I was feeling unwell and things could have been much more serious; it would have been bigger and my chances of survival could have been reduced.
”It was unbelievably scary to find out that I had the cancer. But early detection does save lives.
“And the advice does not just apply to women. There is no reason why men should not be checking their breasts too.”
In a bit to raise awareness, the nurse is documenting her journey in the blog, Katrina’s Kicking Cancer, to help others facing a similar path.
In addition, she is also fundraising for the Friends of the Cancer Centre charity which provided crucial support during her treatment.