A lumpectomy patient from Chelford in Cheshire opens up about her experience following her surgery and follow-up care.
In 2011, Amanda, then 48-years-old, found a lump in the upper part of her left breast during a routine self-examination. The lump was found to be malignant. Now, three years later she has finally been given the all clear and is delighted with the minimal changes to her breast following surgery to remove it.
Amanda says: “I knew that the lump needed checking out as it was flat and not round – something that I was aware to look out for.
I visited my GP immediately, just to be on the safe side, and I was geared up for her to tell me – very nicely – to go away and stop wasting her time! At my appointment, the GP did not hesitate in recommending that I had the lump checked out straight away.
My GP said that she knew of an excellent consultant at The Spire Regency Hospital in Macclesfield, a Mr Jalal Kokan. I was more than happy to pay privately to see him as I wanted to deal with the lump straight away.
I had no idea who Mr Kokan was and I put my trust in my GP. I believed that she was referring me to the best person to deal with this kind of health issue. I was absolutely petrified at what was happening to me.
I saw Mr Kokan and his team the same evening and he performed a scan, mammogram and biopsy. I was told there and then that the lump looked sinister and Mr Kokan was 99% sure it was cancer.
I was very scared but Mr Kokan was amazing. He was charming, friendly and put me totally at ease.
I went back to see Mr Kokan at The Spire Regency three days later and he confirmed the test results were as he thought. I had breast cancer.
I am not a vain person but I had been looking at images of breasts that had been operated on and I was a little worried at this stage as I did not know what my breast was going to look like after a lumpectomy.
Mr Kokan showed me some photos of other patients that he had treated; we discussed the options open to me and which type of surgery he recommended.
We booked the surgery to take place around two weeks later and then I headed to the airport to catch a flight to Dubai where I was going on holiday with my son and my husband.
The week or so before our holiday was a whirlwind. Everything happened so fast. Our trip to Dubai was quite difficult because we went away knowing that I had breast cancer and we did not know if it had spread. Needless to say I spent most of the holiday in tears.
In Dubai, I began to think about everything that was happening to me and I googled ‘best breast cancer surgeons’. It worried me that Mr Kokan's name did not appear on the list and I wanted the best surgeon possible looking after me so my poor husband telephoned and made me an appointment with a lady surgeon whose name was on the list.
It was a Bank Holiday weekend when I returned home from Dubai with my son. I had an appointment with the new lady surgeon on the Tuesday so I thought it would be a good idea to call The Regency Hospital to talk to someone about my concerns. I was in floods of tears and very emotional.
Whoever it was that took my call that weekend put my mind totally at ease. They were kind, patient, listened to my fears and reassured me that Mr Kokan was definitely the best consultant available for breast cancer and lumpectomy and to ‘stick with him’.
The impending surgery was playing on my mind but I just got on with daily life for the next few days, walking my dogs and getting lots of exercise and fresh air.
I had the operation a few days after returning from Dubai. My husband, who had been on a business trip to China, landed just in time to see me before I went into operating room.
Everything went smoothly and I was immediately delighted with the outcome of the procedure. I can honestly say that you can hardly tell that my breast is any different than the other one. There is just a slight dent at the top and there was no need for any reconstructive surgery.
Following the lumpectomy, I had radiotherapy for a month, then hormone therapy, which included monthly injections in my stomach for two years and tamoxifen for five years. I see Mr Kokan at The Regency twice a year and also my oncologist at The Christie Hospital twice a year, who was also fantastic, and this will carry on for five years in total .
I am delighted that I am finally in the clear and I cannot recommend Mr Kokan enough for breast surgery. He is charming, approachable, professional and extremely good at his job.
Mr Kokan’s skills and expertise resulted in the lump being removed being barely noticeable. Mr Kokan and his breast care team at The Spire Regency were supportive every step of the way.
I am always thankful to my GP for recommending Mr Kokan and also I am especially thankful to the lady that answered the phone at The Regency who reassured me to stick with Mr Kokan who I now know is the best.”