Ex-Dragons’ Den star Kelly Hoppen reveals missed appointments before breast cancer diagnosis

Kelly Hoppen [not her mammogram pictured] is urging people to attend their mammogram appointments after she skipped hers for years. Credit: PA/ITV

Former 'Dragon' Kelly Hoppen, who starred in BBC show Dragons’ Den, has revealed her breast cancer diagnosis after eight years of avoiding mammograms.

The 63-year-old said she could not believe her “own stupidity” after ignoring the routine mammogram invitations.

Ms Hoppen only learned she was “out of the woods” last month after being given the all-clear, she said.

“It was a foolish thing to do, which is why I am writing this now: it’s a cautionary tale, a warning to others, not to be too frightened, too harried by the demands of work to go to your appointments,” she said, writing in the Daily Mail.

The interior design mogul revealed her mother also had a breast cancer scare when she was relatively young.

Ms Hoppen said her executive assistant and personal assistant pushed her to finally follow through with a mammogram appointment in September.

The results eventually found Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS)- meaning some cells in the lining of the ducts of the breast tissue had started to turn cancerous but had not yet started to spread.

She said: “(My doctor) explained that I’d been very fortunate indeed: DCIS is the very mildest form of cancer.

“It was in two milk ducts and I was booked in to have the cancer cells removed from the ducts — an awful procedure which made me feel very sore.

“I was hugely fortunate. Although I’d neglected my check-ups, I was lucky that my cancer was detected early.

“Had it not been, I might have faced a less happy outcome. Actually, I might not be here writing this cautionary tale now.”

She added there was 10 to 15% chance the cancer will return, but she vowed never to skip a mammogram again.

“I have my next one booked for September and you can be assured that I’ll be there,” she said.

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in the UK, with 55,900 new cases in the UK every year, according to Cancer Research.

Most women diagnosed with breast cancer are over the age of 50, but younger women can also get breast cancer, the NHS says.

About one in eight women are diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime with recovery reliant on early detection.

The NHS has said it is “vital” that women check their breasts regularly for any changes and always have any changes examined by a GP.

In rare cases, men can also be diagnosed with breast cancer.

Symptoms to look out for which could be breast cancer

Breast cancer has many symptoms, but usually the first noticeable symptom is a lump or area of thickened breast tissue, says the NHS.

Most breast lumps are benign, but it is always best to have them checked by a doctor.

You should also see a GP if you notice any of these symptoms:

  • a change in the size or shape of one or both breasts

  • discharge from either of your nipples - which may be streaked with blood

  • a lump or swelling in either of your armpits

  • dimpling on the skin of your breasts

  • a rash on or around your nipple

  • a change in the appearance of your nipple, such as becoming sunken into your breast

Breast pain is not usually a symptom of breast cancer.

Find out more about the symptoms of breast cancer through the NHS.

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