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In June 2007 I celebrated my 40th birthday! I can remember saying to my husband Tony, "I am going to remember my 40th year" I was not wrong!Only 4 weeks after celebrating a great party with family & friends, my nightmare day began - I had found a lump in my left breast!!

I rang the doctors surgery explained I had found a lump & got an appointment. I sat talking to my doctor who knew my family history of breast cancer - having lost my sister at the age of 34 & my mum at 65. He proceeded to say that I was being paranoid. When I asked if he could feel the lump he said yes, but its probably your hormones!! Come back and see me in a months time...

With such a strong family history I was not prepared to wait, to see if this lump went away! I contacted the breast clinic at Southend Hospital. Explained to them what I had just been told, they asked me to call the doctors again in 30 minutes. When I called back the doctor was not prepared to talk to me, but a letter would be forwarded to the clinic.

To cut a long story short after the visit to the breast clinic, mammogram & biopsy all in one day, I was diagnosed with stage II breast cancer. I had my operation to remove the tumour in August 2007, started 8 months of chemotherapy in September, followed by 5 weeks of radiotherapy. A long road, but still hear to tell the story!

The moral being, you know your own body, if you think something is wrong dont leave it. If I had taken my doctors advise, I dont think I would be here now typing my story!

Paula Dowdall
RAYLEIGH, United Kingdom

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