Breast cancer survivor: ‘Get checked out’

A BREAST cancer survivor from Clevedon is urging people to get checked out as soon as possible if they suspect they might have the disease.

Philomena Lapinska, aged 50, knew something was wrong when she kept feeling tired.

Two weeks later she felt a lump in her breast so she booked up to see her GP on September 30 last year.

She was then referred her to Weston General Hospital for tests and was diagnosed with breast cancer on October 10.

She said: “I was devastated. I thought I was going to die. I went into shock for about three days. I wanted the world to stop.”

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But Philomena, who has a son Alex, aged 15, and a daughter Shireen, aged 21, had a very supportive family and after getting over the shock, she vowed to fight the disease.

She said: “My husband Victor was very supportive. We just took one day at a time. I said I would get through it and fight it and I’m still fighting it. I feel a lot better. The energy I’ve got now is unbelievable.”

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Philomena, of Copse Road, had a mastectomy on November 2 before enduring six months of chemotherapy, followed by four weeks of radiotherapy.

Philomena, who is a self-employed cleaner, is not yet in remission, but is feeling so much better she wants to give other women hope.

She said: “After nearly a year, I’m starting to feel stronger again and my hair is gradually growing back.

“What I thought was a death sentence turned out to be a life-changing experience where I never take anything for granted in the way I used to.

“I was one of the lucky ones, the disease was caught early, making it more treatable.

“Ladies out there, please be alert and if you find any lumps in your breast don’t hesitate, go straight to your GP, like I did. If they catch it early, it’s more treatable.

“The treatment I’ve had has been absolutely fantastic. The NHS staff have treated me like a queen. I can’t fault them. They have all become like my family.

“I have also been going to Penny Brohn Cancer Care for acupuncture, which I would recommend to anyone. I’ve learnt so much from the people there.”

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and Philomena is hoping her story will encourage more women to get checked out and give themselves a greater chance of surviving the disease.

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