Jonathan Seddon, whose wife was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017 aged 35, has spoken about what her surviving the disease has meant to him.
The 47-year-old is the latest to tell his My Survivor story as part of a campaign to help change the way cancer is viewed and encourage more people to act if they have concerns.
With research highlighting that fear of a potential cancer diagnosis continues to stop people acting, the Detect Cancer Early Survivors campaign aims to illustrate that more people are surviving cancer than ever before – and drive home the fact that getting checked early plays a big part.
Following the unveiling of a TV advert for the campaign, people are being encouraged to join the movement by sharing what a loved one’s cancer survival has meant to them, using #MySurvivor to tell the other side of the story.
Jonathan’s wife Emma was diagnosed after finding a lump on her breast during a family holiday with their two young daughters in the summer of 2017.
Following surgery in September 2017, and then chemotherapy and radiotherapy, Emma has recovered well, and is enjoying life with daughters Jessica, 4, and six-year-old Sophie.
Jonathan said: “When Emma found the lump it was so tiny and hard that I really didn’t think anything of it. I just didn’t think it could possibly be a sign of anything more sinister.
“I went with her to the breast clinic after her initial GP appointment. We had to go back a week later to get the results and the whole time I was convinced it would be clear so when we were told it was cancer it was such a shock.
“My first reaction was that they had made a mistake – Emma’s a young, healthy woman with no family history of breast cancer. I was in total denial. Hearing those words was like a surreal out-of-body experience. I felt like my whole life just stood still.”
It was initially thought Emma would be able to get a lumpectomy, but after further tests showed there were other pre-cancerous cells, the surgeon decided it would be best to opt for a full mastectomy with reconstruction.
Emma had her operation in September 2017 and then underwent 18 weeks of chemotherapy, followed by four weeks of radiotherapy.
She said: “I know people have busy lives and will put off going to their GP surgery, but I would advise them to just make the time and do it.
“The stress you’ll put yourself through from worrying about it for weeks is probably worse than the actual appointment itself, then once it’s done you can tick it off your list of things to worry about.
“Most of the time these things aren’t anything sinister, but it’s better to have peace of mind and find out either way.”
For more information on the need to take responsibility for your own health, visit getcheckedearly.org.