Diane Browning, 56 from Edinburgh, felt the lump under her arm on her birthday in March 2023, coinciding with the Detect Cancer Earlier campaign running on Forth 1 radio station, which she took as a sign to make an appointment with her GP practice.
Diane was referred by her GP to the Western General Hospital in April where she underwent an examination, mammograms, ultrasound and biopsies. Further blood tests and an MRI scan confirmed her stage 1 breast cancer diagnosis at the end of April. Diane had surgery in May, was prescribed Tamoxifen then underwent five sessions of radiotherapy in July.
“I always listen to Forth 1 and when I heard the presenter Arlene talking to Fiona who had been through a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, it resonated with me. The way Fiona was talking about her experience made me think that I needed to do something about the lump I’d found recently, sooner rather than later.
“I believe that things happen for a reason. I heard the interview at exactly the right time. I wasn’t overly concerned at that point, but I kept hearing it and took it as a sign not to delay.”
Speaking about her diagnosis, Diane said:
“I didn’t tell anyone, I just thought I’d get it checked to be on the safe side. I was referred to the Western General Hospital where after a day of tests, I met with the consultant who told me to prepare myself for the worst. I was on my own and it was a bit of a shock. I felt my legs go from under me, but I remember her quickly saying that they would get me sorted and that stuck with me for a long time.
“I waited ten days for the biopsy results to confirm the breast cancer diagnosis. A friend came with me for the results and thankfully the news was positive. The cancer was isolated and wasn’t in my lymph nodes. I was told the cancer I had was the most treatable and five days after, I had day surgery to remove the lump.
“I feel very fortunate it was found so early and treated quickly. I am grateful that my GP acted quickly and the care and compassion I received from the NHS was amazing. I’m here, I’m healthy and I’m not going to lie down and let what happened take over. I was back at yoga quickly, I even tried paddleboarding recently and am more mindful of taking care of myself.”
“I wanted to share my story as it shows the power of awareness when it comes to getting checked early. I got in touch with Arlene after my diagnosis to let her know that the ‘early bird’ message was a powerful one that definitely made a difference.
“I probably wouldn’t have left it a huge amount of time, but it’s easy for life to get in the way. I’d had a mammogram in 2021, so in the back of my mind I suppose I thought everything would be fine. It shows how important it is to get any changes checked in between screening.
“If you have any concerns, don’t delay making an appointment with your GP practice. If it turns out to be nothing serious, then that’s great. From that first appointment, I was listened to and my concerns were taken seriously and the care and compassion continued throughout my diagnosis and treatment. It can be daunting, but as my story shows, finding it early can make all the difference. I have the Early Bird campaign to thank for making me take that first step sooner rather than later.”