A BRIDE-TO-BE has told how a routine mammogram saved her life after being diagnosed with breast cancer on her first ever screening.
Maureen Stewart, 51, had been busy planning her dream wedding to fiance Ron when doctors broke the news she had two tumours in her left breast.
The couple had just returned from Florida where they had been making arrangements for their big day and had never considered Maureen’s health could be at risk.
The tax office manager, who has no history of cancer in her family, heeded advice to schedule a breast screening after turning 50 last year – and said she would not be alive today if she hadn’t.
“It saved my life because as far as I knew I was fine,” said the mother-of-two from Bathgate. “I was always conscious to check myself for lumps but it turns out that I didn’t know what to look out for. I probably wouldn’t be here if I had missed the appointment.”
Doctors caught the illness early but Maureen still faced five months of chemotherapy and four weeks of radiotherapy – which ended in March – after subsequent tests showed the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes.
But the trauma didn’t stall preparations for her impending nuptials, now set for mid-May – one year after her diagnosis.
She said: “When I was given the results of my biopsies it changed my life instantly. At first, I couldn’t eat or sleep, but I came round to thinking it was one of those things and I had a lot of support from my family.
“The doctors could see that my left nipple was a bit lower than it should be and luckily enough they caught it.”
With her Florida ceremony just weeks away, Maureen is taking time out to run Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life in South Queensferry on May 6.
“I feel really happy to be alive and want to give something back,” she said. “There is a big crowd of work friends and family doing the race and we are all going to be wearing veils.”
Oliver Childs, senior science information officer at Cancer Research UK, said: “Cancer Research UK is working with the National Cancer director on an independent review of breast screening.
“Women need more accurate, evidence-based and clear information to be able to make an informed choice about breast screening. The decision whether to be screened is a personal one and that decision should be made with all of the potential harms and benefits fully explained.”