Businesswoman's breast cancer diagnosis after experiencing no symptoms

  • Video by ITV Granada Reports correspondent Elaine Willcox

A woman who has supported a number of campaigns raising awareness of breast cancers has been diagnosed with the disease after a routine mammogram.

The breast X-ray revealed Suzy Orr, a businesswomen from Chorley has ductal cancer, one of the most common breast cancers.

It was picked up in June after she attended a routine mammogram screening, which revealed a small "mass", in her left breast measuring just 15 millimetres.

"I still don't have a lump or symptoms, I feel as healthy as can be, so I would never have known," Suzy said.

Suzy Orr's cancer was diagnosed after a routine mammogram Credit: ITV Granada

Suzy, who is 61, runs Unique Ladies, a women's business networking company and has supported a number of breast cancer campaigns.

"I've had speakers who have shared their breast cancer stories and I have always sat at the other side of the table, never thinking it is going to happen to me."

She has shared her diagnosis with her network and already five women have booked mammograms, they had previously put off or cancelled.

NHS breast screening checks use X-rays to look for cancers that are too small to see or feel.

  • Mammograms are offered to women aged between 50-71 and are carried out every three years.

  • In the North West, the uptake rate for screening is 69.8%

  • Each year 375 men are diagnosed with chest cancer in the UK.

A magnetic see is used to help pin-point the cancerous cells, invisible to the human eye Credit: ITV Granada

Shazia Hafiz, a Consultant Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon at Chorley and South Ribble Hospital told Suzy she will have a 'lumpectomy', also known as breast conservation surgery.

Invisible to the human eye, an ultrasound is used to locate the cancerous cells and a tiny magnetic seed is implanted in the breast to pin-point the affected area.

Surgeons use a machine with a metal probe, which works a bit like a metal detector, to help remove the cancerous tissue.

Suzy said all she felt during the procedure was, "a little scratch with the local anaesthetic".

Breast cancer wrap around support at Chorley Breast Unit, Suzy Orr, Karen Anton and Shazia Hafiz Credit: ITV Granada

Breast cancer patients at the Central Lancashire Breast Unit in Chorley are supported by a breast care team.

Karen Anton, a Clinical Nurse Specialist says they take patients through an 'holistic needs assessment' to support them with both emotional and practical needs.

Although Suzy has a positive approach, she did get emotional talking about the impact of chemotherapy and losing her hair.

"I have made that decision to shave my hair, what upsets me is the thought of waking up with my hair on the pillow, which must be many women's worst nightmare," she said.

"So for me it is about taking control and shaving my hair before that happens."

Specialist nurses provide 'holistic care' Credit: ITV Granada

Suzy has been asked to be an ambassador for the charity Boot Out Breast Cancer, which has raised over £1,400,000 for diagnostic equipment for hospitals across the North West.

It was set up by Debbie Dowie when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009.

Debbie Dowie has helped raise almost a million and half for diagnostic equipment Credit: Boot Our Breast Cancer

The charity says the equipment has helped early diagnosis, which is the key to saving lives.

Suzy has planned a Networking Walk to Rivington Pike in Bolton to raise funds for Boot Out Breast Cancer on the 17th August.

That is the day before her surgery at Chorley Breast Cancer Unit, where staff said they will support her 'every step of the way'.

The first symptom of breast cancer most women notice is a lump or an area of thickened tissue in their breast.

Most breast lumps are not cancerous, but the advice is to always have them checked.

You should see a GP if you notice any of the following:

  • a new lump or area of thickened tissue in either breast that was not there before

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

  • a discharge of fluid from either of your nipples

  • a lump or swelling in either of your armpits

  • a change in the look or feel of your skin, such as puckering or dimpling, a rash or redness

  • a rash (like eczema), crusting, scaly or itchy skin or redness 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.

You can find out more details about your local unit at NHS.UK

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