Diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006. His diagnosis came as a surprise as the lump had been present for many years and he had been told it was nothing to worry about. He had a mastectomy, radiotherapy and tamoxifen.
Bernard had a lump next to his nipple from a young age. He had previously mentioned it to his GP who told him it was nothing to worry about. A few years before diagnosis the lump had become very itchy and had bled a couple of times. He decided to mention it to his GP again when he was seeing him for another issue. He was advised again it was probably nothing, but if it was worrying he could be referred to have it removed. At hospital he was reassured that it was probably nothing to worry about. However, he was telephoned soon after his biopsy and asked to return to the hospital the following week. He knew then that it was serious.
His family was devastated by his diagnosis, but they were relieved that treatment began quickly. He had a lot of confidence in his surgeon and oncologist. He also met a breast care nurse who offered him support, but he felt well supported by his family and never felt he needed her.
He told everyone his diagnosis and was touched by the support he received from his community. He had a strong Christian faith and felt supported by his faith and fellow churchgoers who were all praying for him and giving him encouragement. He doesn’t take his top off whilst away on holiday and he wears a t-shirt in the hydro pool at work because he doesn’t want other people to feel embarrassed. At times he has had to show his scar to prove to some people that he has had breast cancer when they do not believe him.
He still has occasional stiffness in his arm. He has changed his lifestyle to be more healthy. He does get down at times, but he takes each day as it comes and is not fearful about cancer or death, knowing that his faith will carry him through life.