Janet – Interview 50

Janet was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003. She was told she’d need a mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Janet chose to have chemotherapy before surgery and was able to have a lumpectomy instead. She also had tamoxifen and Femara.

Janet had always feared getting breast cancer and dreaded the thought of having a mastectomy. In 2003 she found a lump and showed her daughter, a GP, who advised her to see her own GP as soon as she could. She was referred to hospital and further tests showed she had breast cancer. Her consultant recommended she have a mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Janet felt shocked and horrified at the thought of having a mastectomy and sought a second opinion in the hope that another consultant might recommend a lumpectomy instead. The second surgeon, though, recommended the same treatments. Janet went back to her first consultant and asked whether she could have chemotherapy before surgery rather than after it, in the hope that it might shrink the tumour and rule out the need for a mastectomy. Her consultant agreed that, in her case, having chemotherapy first would be possible.

For Janet, one of the most difficult things about having chemotherapy was being recognised by other people in hospital she was a well-known BBC broadcast journalist. Throughout her treatment, Janet said she was only sick once. She tried the cold cap because she did not want to lose her hair. After only one session, though, Janet started losing her hair and bought a couple of wigs. One of these was made of real hair and had to be looked after in the same way as real hair. During chemotherapy, Janet also featured on a BBC programme in the hope of encouraging other people to face cancer positively.

Tests showed very quickly that Janet’s tumour was shrinking and, after chemotherapy, her consultant told her that it had shrunk enough for her to have a lumpectomy. This was on the understanding that if, during surgery, doctors found that a mastectomy was needed, they could go ahead with it.

Janet had a lumpectomy and results showed that all the cancer had been removed. After healing, she had five weeks of radiotherapy. She was also prescribed tamoxifen for five years and, throughout this time, had hot flushes, a common side effect. After five years on tamoxifen, Janet was prescribed Femara for two years.

After her lumpectomy, Janet had a partial reconstruction. She said she has felt better about herself since cancer and was very happy with the results of her surgery.

Janet encouraged women to be positive throughout treatment and to ask questions if they are uncomfortable with anything.

Janet was prescribed Femara after having tamoxifen for five years. She has had some joint pain…

Gender Female

Janet was a broadcast journalist and carried on working during chemotherapy. She featured on a…

Gender Female

Janet had several wigs, one of which was made of real hair. She had it cut and styled and felt…

Gender Female

Janet had both breasts reconstructed after a lumpectomy and is very happy with how they look.

Gender Female

Janet had always feared getting breast cancer. Her daughter felt the lump and advised her to see…

Gender Female

Janet was delighted that her tumour shrunk after chemotherapy and that she did not need a…

Gender Female