Tearful Susanna Reid, 52, reveals she had a ‘stressful’ mammogram appointment after ignoring reminder letter and tells of how Sarah Ferguson’s breast cancer diagnosis finally persuaded her to go
Susanna Reid has revealed she had a ‘stressful’ mammogram appointment after putting off the check-up and ignoring her reminder letter due to fear.
The presenter, 52, told co-host Ed Balls on Good Morning Britain on Tuesday she had finally gone to hospital for the scan after hearing Sarah Ferguson’s pleas for women to go to the routine test.
In June, Sarah, 63, announced she has been diagnosed with breast cancer and has undergone a successful single mastectomy at King Edward VII’s Hospital in London.
Susanna described how she plucked up the courage to go to the scan ahead of property presenter Sarah Beeny, 51, appearing on the show to talk about her breast cancer battle and being given the all-clear.
The NHS Breast Screening Programme invites all women from the age of 50 to 70 registered with a GP for screening every three years.
Health: Tearful Susanna Reid has revealed she had a ‘stressful’ mammogram appointment after putting off the check-up due to fear
Diagnosis: In June, Sarah Ferguson, 63, announced she has been diagnosed with breast cancer and has undergone a successful single mastectomy at King Edward VII’s Hospital in London
‘I did go for mammogram that do you remember we were talking about Sarah Ferguson and she had urged everybody to go and do it,’ Susanna said.
‘I was really resistant to it and then there was a big a row wasn’t there that some health authorities weren’t sending regular reminders. I remembered that there had been a letter somewhere and so I did it.’
Ed asked if she found the experience stressful to which Susanna described how things didn’t start off smoothly as she left her phone in the car.
She said: ‘Do you know what? It was slightly stressful because our lovely editor Daniel drove me there and then I left my mobile phone in the car. And then I felt stressed because I didn’t have my mobile phone.
‘Then I had to go up to someone else in the waiting room to ask them if I could possibly send an email from their mobile phone to the programme secretary to see if she could contact… anyway the point I was completely distracted.
‘Thank you Daniel for driving me to my mammogram. I went in the nurse was absolutely lovely.’
Susanna said she was expecting the scan to be ‘far, far worse’ as she urged others to not put it off like she did.
She said: ‘It was the least bit painful or uncomfortable I was expecting it to be far, far worse. The results came within a few weeks and it came back all clear.’
Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson’s cancer scare began in early May when a routine test first detected something was seriously wrong before the Coronation.
Important: The presenter, 52, told co-host Ed Balls on Good Morning Britain on Tuesday she had finally gone to hospital for the scan after hearing Sarah Ferguson’s pleas
Check-up: The scan uses low-energy X-rays to examine the human breast for diagnosis and screening. It can detect cancers that are too small to see or feel (pictured stock photo)
Sarah attended an appointment in London for a mammogram. Rather than being given the all-clear, as expected, the technician explained that a ‘shadow’ could be seen in the breast.
Given the size of the area, a lumpectomy was ruled out and Sarah was strongly advised to go ahead with a single mastectomy, which would eradicate the shadow of cancerous cells across the breast.
Sarah was said to be devastated but determined to press ahead with a mastectomy as soon as possible, telling friends she had ‘no choice’ but to go through with the operation.
The Duchess endured a punishing eight-hour operation.
Fergie said she questioned whether having a ‘a body part cut off’ was something she needed ‘in order to wake up?’.
‘Not because of seeing death but waking up to stop worrying, stop self-hatred, stop self-doubt, stop all these things. Stop not liking yourself…’ she said.
After Sarah questioned if it had ‘taken that’ to get to a more confident place, Fergie said: ‘Yes, it did in my case’.
She said that since her life after the operation, her self-esteem had been transformed.
She explained: ‘You’ve got an enormous scar, but you like yourself….You like yourself a lot.’
‘You’ve got a badge of office, you just are what you are, and… of course the last thing that the Queen said to me [was]: ‘Just be yourself Sarah’.
‘And she saw it. She just got so annoyed when I wasn’t being myself. And that’s probably when I got into all the pickles.
‘But now I am myself and I’m just so lucky to be able to be myself.’
She continued: ‘I’m very lucky that my sister sent me to the mammogram because that was something which saved my life.’
The Duchess also spoke about how she had recovered since the operation, saying her reconstructed breast ‘Derek’ was doing ‘very well.’
She said she had started to return to a more active lifestyle over the summer, including walking while holidaying in Scotland to keep in shape as ‘at 63, you do need to do exercise.
Speaking out: On Tuesday’s show, property presenter Sarah Beeny spoke about her battle with breast cancer and being given the all-clear
Tough: Sarah revealed in August last year she was undergoing radiotherapy and chemotherapy for breast cancer and has had a double mastectomy
On Tuesday’s show, property presenter Sarah Beeny spoke about her battle with breast cancer.
Sarah revealed in August last year she was undergoing radiotherapy and chemotherapy for breast cancer and has had a double mastectomy.
One year on, the TV favourite reflected on the past 12 months on the show.
She said: ‘I prefer to rub out the difficult bits and just remember all the good bits. That’s my personal way of doing it.
‘It was a little bit grueling. I had a very lucky diagnosis and I’m very lucky to live in the UK with the amazing treatment and research. I feel very fortunate and I know other people aren’t as fortunate as me.’
Sarah has four sons Billy, 18, Charlie, 16, Rafferty, 14, and Laurie, 12, with her husband of 19 years Graham Swift, and cites them as her motivation for going public with her diagnosis.
The presenter given the all-clear from breast cancer but will have to stay on medication for the next ten years and be ‘very vigilant’.
Emotional: Last month, Susanna paid tribute to her ‘beautiful friend’ Suki Thompson who died of skin cancer just days after appearing on Good Morning Britain
Touching: She posted a photograph of the order of service for Suki’s funeral and wrote about how her friend was the ’embodiment of strength’
Last month, Susanna paid tribute to her ‘beautiful friend’ Suki Thompson who died of skin cancer just days after appearing on Good Morning Britain.
Suki was interviewed by Susanna on GMB from her hospital bed about having been diagnosed with cancer four times over the past 15 years and how important it is to wear SPF on your skin in the sun.
Just days later, on July 30, the campaigner – who raised more than £200,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support following her diagnosis – sadly died and Susanna has now paid tribute to her ‘beautiful’ friend in an emotional post shared to Instagram.
She posted a photograph of the order of service for Suki’s funeral and wrote about how her friend was the ’embodiment of strength’ in an accompanying caption.
She posted: ‘Our beautiful friend Suki Thompson. The embodiment of strength & optimism. A passion for living life to the fullest. Go well lovely.’
Speaking from her bed in a hospice in Cornwall, Suki opened up to Susanna and co-host Martin Lewis about how she would be spending her final days.
Susanna was left visibly emotional as she and her friend told each other how much they meant to each other, with the broadcaster hailing her pal as ‘an inspiration’.
Susanna told Suki: ‘It’s been a privilege knowing you and being friends with you.’
She went on to call her an ‘incredible person’, before adding: ‘What you are doing is so so remarkable. Huge love to you and the family. And just keep going, keep going. Human sunshine.’
Extending the kind words back to her pal, Suki said back to Susanna: ‘I am so inspired by having a friend like you Susanna.’
Touched by Suki’s moving words, Susanna choked back tears as she quickly added: ‘You’re the inspiration.’
Suki’s diagnosis came when she discovered what she thought was a wart on her foot and was given verruca cream to treat it, before it was confirmed it was more serious. The cancer then spread to her brain and became terminal.
Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world and affects more than two MILLION women a year
Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world. Each year in the UK there are more than 55,000 new cases, and the disease claims the lives of 11,500 women. In the US, it strikes 266,000 each year and kills 40,000. But what causes it and how can it be treated?
What is breast cancer?
It comes from a cancerous cell which develops in the lining of a duct or lobule in one of the breasts.
When the breast cancer has spread into surrounding tissue it is called ‘invasive’. Some people are diagnosed with ‘carcinoma in situ’, where no cancer cells have grown beyond the duct or lobule.
Most cases develop in those over the age of 50 but younger women are sometimes affected. Breast cancer can develop in men, though this is rare.
Staging indicates how big the cancer is and whether it has spread. Stage 1 is the earliest stage and stage 4 means the cancer has spread to another part of the body.
The cancerous cells are graded from low, which means a slow growth, to high, which is fast-growing. High-grade cancers are more likely to come back after they have first been treated.
What causes breast cancer?
A cancerous tumour starts from one abnormal cell. The exact reason why a cell becomes cancerous is unclear. It is thought that something damages or alters certain genes in the cell. This makes the cell abnormal and multiply ‘out of control’.
Although breast cancer can develop for no apparent reason, there are some risk factors that can increase the chance, such as genetics.
What are the symptoms of breast cancer?
The usual first symptom is a painless lump in the breast, although most are not cancerous and are fluid filled cysts, which are benign.
The first place that breast cancer usually spreads to is the lymph nodes in the armpit. If this occurs you will develop a swelling or lump in an armpit.
How is breast cancer diagnosed?
- Initial assessment: A doctor examines the breasts and armpits. They may do tests such as a mammography, a special x-ray of the breast tissue which can indicate the possibility of tumours.
- Biopsy: A biopsy is when a small sample of tissue is removed from a part of the body. The sample is then examined under a microscope to look for abnormal cells. The sample can confirm or rule out cancer.
If you are confirmed to have breast cancer, further tests may be needed to assess if it has spread. For example, blood tests, an ultrasound scan of the liver or a chest X-ray.
How is breast cancer treated?
Treatment options which may be considered include surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and hormone treatment. Often a combination of two or more of these treatments are used.
- Surgery: Breast-conserving surgery or the removal of the affected breast depending on the size of the tumour.
- Radiotherapy: A treatment which uses high energy beams of radiation focused on cancerous tissue. This kills cancer cells, or stops them from multiplying. It is mainly used in addition to surgery.
- Chemotherapy: A treatment of cancer by using anti-cancer drugs which kill cancer cells, or stop them from multiplying.
- Hormone treatments: Some types of breast cancer are affected by the ‘female’ hormone oestrogen, which can stimulate the cancer cells to divide and multiply. Treatments which reduce the level of these hormones, or prevent them from working, are commonly used in people with breast cancer.
How successful is treatment?
The outlook is best in those who are diagnosed when the cancer is still small, and has not spread. Surgical removal of a tumour in an early stage may then give a good chance of cure.
The routine mammography offered to women between the ages of 50 and 70 means more breast cancers are being diagnosed and treated at an early stage.
For more information visit breastcancernow.org or call its free helpline on 0808 800 6000
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