Treatment for Breast Cancer

Ailsa Gunn, 43, is currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer at Spire Leeds Hospital.

The married mum of one regularly carries out self-breast-checks. It was during one of these checks one weekend in early August this year when she discovered a lump.

“I sprung into action right away and saw my doctor on the Monday morning, and I was lucky because I have private healthcare through the company I work for, Carillion. I had a mammogram the following day, got the results on the Thursday and had a biopsy on the Friday,” she said.

She was diagnosed just as her 11-year-old son, Adam, was due to start high school and she had the cancerous lump, which measured just under 2cms, removed (a lumpectomy) on 18 August, the day she was due to go on a family holiday to Majorca. Ailsa is currently undergoing six cycles of chemotherapy at Spire Leeds Hospital, under the care of consultant medical oncologist Professor Timothy Perren, and is nearly half way through the course. Then she will complete treatment with radiotherapy in the spring.

Ailsa praised the care she is receiving from the breast care nurses at Spire Leeds Hospital who offer support from diagnosis through every stage of a patient’s treatment, “The staff at Spire are fantastic and very supportive,” she said.

Specialist breast care nurse Jill Maffey said, “We understand the importance of having a named and readily available contact who is able to provide individualised information and emotional support.”

Ailsa has recently launched a campaign to raise awareness among women and also to raise funds for registered breast cancer charity – Breast Cancer Campaign. Her aim is to get women to self check their breasts and then donate £1 to the charity to say ‘I’ve checked’. 

Ailsa’s target is to get 200 women to check their breasts, which would subsequently raise £200. She has already almost tripled her goal in terms of raising funds, which currently stands at just over £600. Women can participate by logging onto:  (The name ‘Know Your’ is from a worldwide campaign designed to increase breast awareness).

Ailsa who works in health and safety management and is working on her good days, says the awareness and fundraiser campaign has given her something positive to focus on as she continues with her treatment.

“The reason I wanted to launch my campaign is because when I spoke to friends to tell them the news I found so many of them don’t check themselves or go to the GP for regular checks and I thought maybe I could raise awareness for women to know the importance of this. Hopefully, all my friends do it now and I hope to spread the awareness further through my campaign.”

Messages and support continue to flood in to Ailsa's webpage, mainly from friends and colleagues at this point, however, she hopes the word will get out to more women. She said, “Everyone’s positive messages and support on my webpage, from both women and men, are hugely appreciated. To see people coming together for the cause in this way is incredibly touching and heartwarming.

“My consultant, Mr Philip Turton, who performed the lumpectomy, told me that I was very sensible to act quickly and stressed the importance of finding lumps early.  Through my campaign, if even one woman found a lump and gets an earlier diagnosis and treatment then the campaign is worthwhile.”

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