Georgi is 51. She lives in Surrey and works as a fundraiser. Georgi was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer after noticing a sudden change in the shape of her left breast. This is her story, as told to Radiotherapy UK
How was your cancer diagnosed?
I had a mammogram as part of the national screening programme, but it did not detect cancer. Shortly afterwards I noticed a change of shape under my left breast. It changed almost overnight. The cancer was confirmed through surgery. I had two lumpectomies (surgery to remove the cancer and a small amount of healthy tissue around the tumour) and was diagnosed with Grade 1 Invasive Ductal ER8 PR8 Her2- cancer.
What was your experience of radiotherapy?
I had 10 sessions of Surface Guided Radiation Treatment (SGRT) through the private insurance that comes with my job. The SGRT meant it was very simple to get me into position and each treatment took around 20 minutes at most. I did not need to have tattoos.
The team were brilliant – professional and nice. I used to dress slightly differently for each treatment to keep my spirits up. I wore a fascinator when the racing was on – and we used to have a good laugh.
You are exposing yourself, which is daunting. But I felt comfortable with what was happening. The treatment was on my left side, so I did Deep Inspiration Breath Hold* and it was bearable.
Did you have any side effects?
My breast swelled up a lot and throbbed after the first session, but my skin was OK. Long-term I have soreness in that area, in my chest and sometimes I get a shooting pain in my breast.
What helped you cope with cancer?
I reached out to others on Instagram, and I think it’s important to raise awareness that cancer happens to people of all ages. I encourage women to advocate for themselves. If they feel like something isn’t right, they should ask for an ultrasound because mammograms don’t always catch what’s there. I’d had my mammogram and it did not show.
What did you find hard?
Scanxiety is real! On Day 5 of my treatment I did a 24-hour endurance run. I’m not sure it was a good idea. Sometimes I do push myself too much.
How are you now?
Thankfully I caught my cancer quite early and have now recently had my one-year all-clear. Others are not so fortunate, and their diagnosis has come too late, by which time cancer has spread. Many of these women have not been taken seriously by healthcare professionals and had to fight to get heard.
Any advice for others?
I would urge women of all ages to push for a scan if something doesn’t feel right.