MOH staffer thanks breast screening programme for finding her cancer
Working in health doesn't make you immune from occasionally needing its services. Ministry of Health Chief Technology Officer Carol Abernethy knows that only too well.
Carol used the Ministry's staff intranet to praise the value of breast screening after her own cancer journey.
"In late March as a result of my mammogram, I had a core needle biopsy into an irregular lump that had been discovered in my right breast area. The lump was identified as being an invasive ductal carcinoma, a type of breast cancer.
"On the 8th April, I was on the surgery table having this lump removed. The cancer was removed with a small rim of normal breast tissue so that they might see if the cancer has already spread wider. At the same time, the surgeon removed three lymph nodes under my arm to see if they were involved."
Ten days after her surgery, and much to her relief, Carol got her results. The cancer had not spread and wasn't found in the lymph nodes. Thankfully, no chemotherapy was required, although she did need 19 radiation treatments.
Carol says she wanted to tell her workmates her story to underscore the importance of screening, whether it be breast, bowel or cervical, hoping that her colleagues would take her story home to remind their family members and friends to be self aware and take action.
"I am so grateful to the breast screening programme. If my cancer hadn't been found so early it would have grown for sure and spread. And I would have been faced with far more invasive and difficult treatments that would have impacted me and my family. This is truly life-saving stuff!"
To find out more about breast screening, see the Time to Screen website.