Survivor urges women to get mammogram

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by Jessica Wilson

A breast cancer survivor is urging women to get a breast screening, no matter how scary it seems.

Marion Bailey, of Timaru, was diagnosed last October and wants other women to be aware of the disease.

“Go and get a mammogram,” Mrs Bailey said.

“I just think women my age who don’t know about it, should know about it and get it done.”

Last year, Mrs Bailey kept hearing ads on the radio encouraging women to sign up for a free screening programme.

She realised she fitted into the age demographic, so signed up.

Things progressed quickly and about two weeks later she had her first mammogram.

That was followed by another set of scans, an ultrasound and two biopsies.

About three weeks after the initial mammogram, she was diagnosed with lobular breast cancer.

“It took me a little bit to process it,” Mrs Bailey said.

“It was all so quick.”

After telling her husband, the couple shared the news with their three teenage children.

At the time, Mrs Bailey was also dealing with another health problem and the death of her father from cancer.

“It was a crazy, crazy, traumatic time.”

In November, she had surgery to remove a lymph node which has left her with two scars and blue dye on her breast.

Every day, it was a “friendly reminder” of what had happened.

In March, she participated in the Relay For Life, and “broke down” when the purple survivor’s sash was put around her, because her father was not there.

Having cancer changed her outlook on life, but she struggled going through it without him.

“He would have understood.”

At times, she was in a state of denial about her diagnosis.

“I know it’s real when I go and see my cancer support lady, Julie, and she brings up my name on the computer at the Cancer Society.”

She acknowledged the support she received from the society, especially Julie, Leola and the team.

To mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Mrs Bailey will be collecting at Mitre 10 on Saturday from noon to 2pm.

She encouraged women not to be afraid of getting a mammogram.

Ten to 15 minutes of discomfort could save your life, she said.

“It’s not only their life it’s affecting, it’s also their family’s.”