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Annette's experience: “It’s so important to check yourself regularly.”

A Yorkshire Cancer Research volunteer smiling while hanging clothes in the shop

A Harrogate breast cancer survivor is urging people to check their breasts and contact their GP with any concerns.

Annette Ward was diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2020 after noticing a lump and a change in the shape of her breast.

The 61-year-old spoke to her GP and was referred to hospital for further tests. She was then told that she had cancer.

Annette had primary breast cancer, so it had not spread to other areas of her body and could also be treated more easily. She had surgery to remove the lump, followed by radiotherapy.
She said: “I feel blessed that my cancer was found early. From diagnosis to treatment, the NHS has been marvellous. I’m so grateful to the doctors and nurses at Harrogate District Hospital and St James’s Hospital in Leeds. They did everything they can to make sure I was treated quickly and effectively.”

Annette now urges others to make sure that they take part in breast screening when invited and also check for changes.

She said:

“It’s so important to check your breasts regularly. I had my routine mammogram just over a year before I was diagnosed, and that had been clear. These things can happen very quickly, and the sooner it’s found the sooner it can be treated.

“Self-check as much as you can. If there’s anything out of the ordinary or that you’re concerned about, contact your GP and have it looked at as soon as possible.”

After treatment, Annette spoke to her doctor about her next steps. She decided to begin volunteering as a way to regain confidence, taking up a role at Yorkshire Cancer Research’s Knaresborough shop.

She added: “I thought that Yorkshire Cancer Research would be ideal. It’s my way of giving back and of saying thank you for the research they fund.”

For more information about breast cancer, please visit the NHS website