Hula-hoop injury pain turned out to be breast cancer

Breast cancer survivor Janet Brodie is urging the public to join the fight by adding a Saltire sticker to a giant structure of the word 'cancer'. Picture: Lesley Martin
Breast cancer survivor Janet Brodie is urging the public to join the fight by adding a Saltire sticker to a giant structure of the word 'cancer'. Picture: Lesley Martin
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A HULA-hoop injury suffered during a fitness class prompted Janet Brodie to go to the doctor – but the visit eventually led to her being diagnosed with breast cancer.

The 56-year-old accounts clerk from Portobello has now been clear of cancer since 2013, but she is backing a new campaign by Cancer Research UK for more investment to give patients quicker diagnosis and earlier access to life-saving treatments.

The Scotland vs Cancer campaign will take to the streets of Edinburgh today with a giant structure of the word ‘Cancer’ appearing in Princes Street.

Passers-by will be asked to show their support by adding a sticker to the 6ft letters.

New statistics show that thousands of anxious patients are waiting longer than six weeks to receive tests such as endoscopy, colonoscopy, CT and MRI scans.

Cancer is now Scotland’s biggest killer, with half of the population expected to be diagnosed with the disease at some point in their lives. However, the sooner cancer is diagnosed the more successful treatment is likely to be.

Ms Brodie initially believed her hula-hoop injury was responsible for the persistent pain she was feeling, but changed her mind after seeing a breast cancer awareness TV advert featuring Elaine C Smith.

She was seen by specialists at the Western General Hospital two weeks after visiting her GP with her breast cancer concern and received a mammogram, an ultrasound and a biopsy.

The results confirmed she was suffering from breast cancer and surgery and chemotherapy followed.

Ms Brodie said: “The two weeks waiting to see a specialist while I worried if I had breast cancer were the longest days and a really anxious time. It was a nightmare fearing the worst.

“I had been suffering pain for six months before it dawned on me that breast cancer and not the hula hoop might be to blame. To know all the time the clock was ticking and the cancer was spreading is frightening.

“I think that if a GP refers someone to a specialist to find out if they have cancer, then they should receive the tests they need quickly.

“I believe I owe my life to the swift treatment I received. I’m incredibly grateful.”

Statistics last month revealed that in the year to December 2015, over 72,000 people in Scotland waited longer than the six-week target for a diagnostic test.

Targets also say 95 per cent of patients should wait a maximum of 62 days to start treatment after an urgent referral from their GP for suspected cancer. But this target has not been met since January 2013.

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com