Thomas Small, 23 from Airdrie, refers to mother Christine as the ‘centre of the family’ and is so thankful that she attended her breast screening appointment when she did, with her treatment and subsequent recovery meaning she was part of big family events like his sister’s wedding and his graduation.
Mother of three Christine, 57, originally from Coatbridge, was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2016 after attending her second routine mammogram since turning 50.
The tumour was found early and treatment was successful, with surgery to remove the lump three weeks after diagnosis and three weeks of radiotherapy.
“I was studying in London when my dad rang to tell me the news. I remember having an instant feeling of dread hearing the word cancer, but I spoke to my mum briefly who told me that once the tumour was removed she’d be fine.
“I dropped everything to go back to Scotland and be with her. She’s without doubt the centre of our family and the person we all turn to in times of need, so I just wanted to be there for her before she started her treatment.
“Although we were so worried, hearing it was treatable helped us deal with her diagnosis. We don’t dwell on what happened, and mum is back to supporting and looking after all of us. I’m so glad she chose not to shy away from her mammogram appointments, and to this day feel very lucky that she was diagnosed so early on.”
All women between 50 and 70 are invited for breast screening every three years. Breast screening alone saves around 130 lives every year in Scotland, helping pick up tiny cancers that can’t be seen or felt, often when they are less advanced.