Deb's warning after lockdown cancer discovery
Deb Hardy was diagnosed with breast cancer during lockdown after she found a lump.
Deb's cancer is known as mammographically occult, which means it does not show up on a mammogram. She is urging women to ensure they regularly check their breasts rather than relying solely on mammograms.
Deb, who worked in marketing and ran a recycling company before retiring, said it was "a complete and utter shock" to be diagnosed.
She said: "I felt something quite early on in lockdown and thought I was just imagining it."
Deb was reluctant to visit her GP because of the pressures facing the NHS from the coronavirus pandemic. But she said that after Prime Minister Boris Johnson came out of hospital following treatment for from Covid-19 and urged people not to avoid using the NHS if they were ill, she contacted her GP, who was "fantastic" and referred her straight to a breast clinic for a mammogram and ultrasound.
Deb said: "The girl doing it said there was nothing on the mammogram, then I saw her face after starting up the ultrasound and I thought 'I might be in trouble here'."
After having cancer diagnosed Deb had lumpectomy and mastectomy operations, and started 18 weeks of chemotherapy on August 19.
To support charities Macmillan, Marie Curie and St Peter's Hospice, Deb was set to "brave the shave" on August 29 at the Trident pub in Badminton Road at 5pm.
There will be a collection on the day, and Fishponds-based businesses SM Gauge and Surecar Direct have each pledged £1,000.
Online donations can be made online via Macmillan Cancer Support's Brave the Shave at bravetheshave.macmillan.org.uk/shavers/deb-hardy and Deb will personally match all of the donations to double the total raised.
She said: "The one thing I do not want is sympathy, but I do want to raise awareness of breast cancer.
"All we are hearing about at the moment is Covid-19 and there is approximately a one in 1000 chance of you catching that. There is a one in seven chance of you developing breast cancer.
"If some good can come out of all this, it's got to be worth it."