Wear It Pink Day is 21st October. It’s got to be the prettiest way to raise money for such a fantastic charity. You treat yourself to something new from our Wear It Pink collection, and we’ll donate £5 for every sale to Breast Cancer Now. It’s a win win. Even better, most of the collection is cosy and thermal for a toasty autumn!
Read on to see who and how Breast Cancer Now supports people we all know and love, like Fran, Doug and Lorraine.
Wear It Pink and be proud
You can help Breast Cancer Now charity in lots of ways, but one of them is wearing something pink from our official collection. Whether you love thermal long sleeved t-shirts, hot pink underwear, thermal pj’s and toasty slippers we’ve got you covered. Perfect on the coldest days. Our donation goes towards the life-changing research and vital support that Breast Cancer Now provides every day. Are you with us?
Three Breast Cancer Now success stories
Breast Cancer Now offers amazing support groups, a listening ear and a wealth of information to help settle and reassure. The support groups are truly invaluable. They encourage people to talk about their feelings, their treatment and what they’re going through. It’s all met with a common, shared understanding.
We have three stories from very strong people, men and women who’d like to share a little of their experience of breast cancer.
“Having cancer four times over 17 years has given me a greater awareness of life”
Angela was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1989. Since then, she has done what she can to help others with a diagnosis.
I was diagnosed for the first time in 1989 at the age of 45, and I had my first lumpectomy around the same time as the Berlin Wall came down.
Attitudes towards breast cancer were very different at the time – there seemed to be a general consensus that even talking about it could make it contagious. Even medical staff would talk to me with their heads tilted to the side, asking ‘How are you?’ in a whisper.
10 years later, in 1999, I had my first recurrence. I then had another in 2003 and a third in 2006. In total, I’ve had three lumpectomies and a double mastectomy with immediate reconstruction.
The first time, my cancer was discovered by mammogram. It was detected by ultrasound each subsequent time. I was very lucky to have had excellent care with specialists with each of my diagnoses.
The fourth diagnosis was probably the hardest as it came back so soon after the third. The oncologist called me directly, so I knew it was going to be bad news.
On the whole, I was mostly worried that people would treat me differently because of cancer. But I was and still am the same person I always was.
After my first diagnosis, I volunteered at Breast Cancer Care (which later became Breast Cancer Now). I even had the pleasure of meeting Betty Westgate, who founded it in the first place – a delightful and fascinating lady.
Because of experiences like this, I have previously volunteered and raised money for different charities. I enjoyed meeting people, finding out their stories, listening to their fears and their attitudes to life when diagnosed, during or after treatment.
Overall, I would say having breast cancer has given me a greater awareness of life and a determination not to waste it, and really to forget the small stuff and focus on the bigger picture. I learnt to pace myself and listen to my body. To find out more about Angela’s story please go to our Breast Cancer Now awereness month page.
“I had no idea men could get breast cancer“
Before he was diagnosed in 2012, Doug had no idea men could get breast cancer. Now, he wants to raise awareness amongst other people and improve resources for men affected by breast cancer.
At the end of 2011, I noticed what I thought was a cyst on my left breast. I kept moaning about it, and eventually my wife told me to go and see the GP. So, I booked myself an appointment for two days before Christmas. Three days before my 50th birthday, I found out it was breast cancer.
I’ve tried to keep up raising awareness ever since, especially as so many men don’t know the risk.
The death rate in men with breast cancer is quite high because they don’t get diagnosed soon enough. I’ve heard of men being told to wait for months to see if anything changes. I was lucky enough to have a doctor who took my symptoms seriously because, if I was told that, I probably would never have gone back unless it got really bad.
Male breast cancer is finally getting proper recognition. Now, we have the Virtual Meet Up group for men. I wish that had been around when I was first diagnosed, but breast cancer in men wasn’t really recognised properly 10 years ago.
Since then, though, Breast Cancer Now have been brilliant. They’ve really listened to us and given us the time and space to talk about male breast cancer. Even just the information on their website is so helpful – much more helpful than just turning to Google!
For more information on Doug’s story please visit out Breast Cancer Now awareness month page.
Next up is Lorraine
“When I first noticed a change in my breast, I thought nothing of it”
Lorraine’s initial breast cancer symptoms were not what she expected, so she didn’t see her doctor. When she was eventually diagnosed, she worried it was too late for treatment.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in April 2010, a month before I turned 48. Just prior to my diagnosis, I had found a large lump on my left breast that felt like a small golf ball. On closer inspection, I also noticed that my nipple had slightly pulled to the side.
But these were not my first symptoms. Several months earlier whilst checking my breast, at the edge of the areola where it met my skin, I felt something small and thin. It was like a wooden splinter or a sliced grain of uncooked rice.
At the time, I was not overly worried that it might be cancer because it wasn’t the typical ‘pea-sized lump’. I wondered whether it had always been there, and I had perhaps never noticed it.
It was my intention to check again the following month, but I was so unconcerned about it that I forgot. By the time I did remember, it had become much larger. At this point, I had no doubt that I had cancer and was angry with myself for not going to the GP earlier.
As I had already convinced myself that I had cancer prior to my formal diagnosis, I had started both practically and mentally preparing for death. However, I was thrown into a state of utter confusion when the doctor told me that my cancer was not only treatable but curable. I had been thrown a lifeline, but it meant enduring 18 months of hospital treatments.
The effects of the treatment were gruelling. I lost all my hair. I was thrown into an early menopause, I lost my toenails and developed lymphoedema. I was hospitalised with infections, developed a blood clot and cardiomyopathy. The worst of all was losing my taste buds, as I love food!
Despite all this, I managed to go through treatment with a positive state of mind. I made the most of my new bald look by learning how to apply make-up and wearing colourful clothes. I had morphed from an invisible jeans and T-shirt woman to one of glamour and curiosity.
I want all women to know that if their breast cancer is diagnosed early enough, it can improve their chances of surviving. But it is even more important for me to encourage black women like myself who are of African heritage to be aware of how their breasts normally look and feel and report any changes to their GP, no matter how slight.
Far too many of us are being diagnosed late, which is reducing our chances of survival. I survived because I checked my breasts, and I want other women to do the same.
To read more about Lorraine’s story please see our Breast Cancer Now awereness page.
Join us in raising awareness and vital funds
This month, everyone at Damart has joined with the nation to raise funds to donate to Breast Cancer Now. So far, we’ve enjoyed sponsored walks, held delicious bake sales, felt the zen of yoga classes and dived in to Wear It Pink day. Want to sign up to Wear It Pink?
Touch. Look. Check.
Before you go, don’t forget to check yourself with the Touch Look Check routine. You can take a look at the video on our site here, or we’ve included some information below from Breast Cancer Now to show you how you it’s done.