Cookstown woman celebrates becoming grandmother 10 years after cancer diagnosis

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A Cookstown woman who was diagnosed with cancer 10 years ago, has said she owes her life to the services of Action Cancer.

Anne Nelson who lives near Cookstown with her husband Trevor spoke of her battle to overcome breast cancer and her joy at becoming at grandmother for the first time.

The doctor told me that I had two cancer tumours on my left breast but they were both small and had been detected early

The mother of three’s breast cancer was detected at Action Cancer House in October 2005 through the screening programme available to women aged 40-49 and 70 plus .

Thankfully, she is now cancer free. Here is her story.

“In October 2005 I saw a bright pink advert for Action Cancer in our local paper. I read that they screened women aged 40 - 49, and as I was coming 45 that year I thought I should go and get checked out.

“The next day my colleague and I made our appointments for November 2. After our mammograms we made a day of it and went for lunch on the Lisburn Road like we hadn’t a care in the world!

“It was a week later that I received an envelope from Action Cancer referring me to a hospital for further screening. My scan showed two little suspicious areas. I then had a number of biopsies and a core biopsy – the results of which wouldn’t be available for four days. It was the longest weekend of my life.

“I got a phone call from the hospital asking me to come down the next day for my results. It was my 45th birthday that day.

“The doctor told me that I had two cancer tumours on my left breast but they were both small and had been detected early. If I had even waited another six months things would have been very different. I agreed to go for the surgery on 23 December.

“On 6 January 2006 I was told the cancer had spread to the glands under my arm. I needed more surgery and then three forms of treatment: chemotherapy, radiotherapy and the cancer tablet. Although it was incredibly hard at times I got through it with the support and prayers of friends and family.

“I feel I owe my life to Action Cancer because if it hadn’t been for their screening programme I might not be here to tell my story. I have had the joy of becoming a granny 14 months ago with the birth of my grandson Adam. When I was first diagnosed I didn’t think I would reach this point in my life, but I am so thankful that I am here to enjoy my family and I look forward to what the future holds. There is life after cancer.”

Anne is passionate about encouraging women to be breast aware.

Since 2008 Anne has worked as an Ambassador in the Mid-Ulster area, spreading awareness in her local community of the free breast screening service.

In 2010 she set up a local cancer support group in Cookstown and has helped raise a phenomenal £39,351.