Anne’s plea over cancer checks

AS a former Citizens Advice Bureau debt counsellor Anne Stockdale-Bond is used to giving sound financial advice.

But now the 51-year-old from Lowestoft is offering life-saving advice, after she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Ms Stockdale-Bond is one of the 177 women a year in the Waveney and Great Yarmouth area who are diagnosed with the life-threatening disease.

Following the shock of being diagnosed in July, she has had her left breast removed and is undergoing gruelling chemotherapy at the James Paget University Hospital (JPUH).

She hopes to be given the all-clear in March after undergoing radio therapy treatment at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

Ms Stockdale Bond, who lives in Harris Avenue and previously worked as manager at Lowestoft's Aid and Assist charity, is now urging all women – and men – to regularly check themselves for lumps so they can treated as soon as possible if they turn out be cancerous.

It was because she regularly checked herself that she noticed a lump in her breast and, after mentioning it to a nurse during an appointment at the Crestview Medical Centre, she was referred to the JPUH.

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She was diagnosed with aggressive lobular cancer leading to the mastectomy and chemotherapy.

Ms Stockdale-Bond, who has lost her hair because of the chemotherapy, said she could not over-stress the importance of regular self checks. Describing her emotions after being diagnosed, she said: 'I could not comprehend it clearly. It was like I was in a bubble and the doctor was talking to someone else.

'It was a frightening experience as you hear all these stories about women dying from breast cancer. I came out of the hospital in a daze, especially as there is no history of breast cancer in my family.

'Because of my treatment my recovery is looking good. But I was told it would have been a very different story if I had not checked myself.

'Everyone should look, touch and check their breasts and if they think anything is wrong then go and seek advice from their doctor.'

Ms Stockdale-Bond, who says she still has down days, hopes to have breast reconstruction surgery in at least 18 months' time. She also enjoys wearing her 'lovely' NHS wig.

As a thank you to the staff at the JPUH's Sandra Chapman Centre which treats cancer patients, Ms Stockdale-Bond and her fiance David Raven plan to go on a fundraising trek on the Coast to Coast walk across northern England once she has recovered.