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Sandra Feeney raises awareness for breast cancer
A mum-of-three who survived an aggressive type of cancer believes breastfeeding helped save her life.
Sandra Feeney, of Cavendish Crescent, Elstree, first noticed a hard lump in her breast when feeding her then newborn son, Ira, in 2009.
The 41-year-old is now calling on girls of all ages to start checking themselves for lumps as part of breast cancer awareness month, which runs throughout October.
She said: “I had not been feeling myself and I knew the lump was not normal, but thought it was down to breastfeeding. My doctor referred me to a specialist.
“They took biopsies of the lump and then realised there was something wrong. I had a lumpectomy immediately, it was a very scary time. I was not expecting that.
“It makes you feel like your life is on hold. My friends and family were amazing but that did not stop me from feeling trapped.”
Tests showed that the full-time mum had grade three cancer – the most aggressive type – and was forced to undergo 16 rounds of chemotherapy. She then had one month of radiotherapy.
Instead of enjoying precious moments with her three young children, Mrs Feeney was left feeling drugged up and “horrendous” from the treatment.
She said her daughter, Ava, now nine, and son Jesse, now seven, adapted amazingly well to her treatment and believes they inspired her to carry on.
“The morning after I had my long hair cut short to prepare for chemotherapy, Jesse did not recognise me. He asked: can I speak to my mum please?
“Ava told me she wanted me to wear my hat to pick her up to school so the other children did not make fun of me.”
Three years on from her diagnosis, Mrs Feeney is no longer undergoing chemotherapy and is taking “each day as it comes,” but it will be another two years until she gets the all clear.
She added: “Chemotherapy seems like such a daunting task but when you get the ball rolling it goes by really quickly. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
“I am hoping breast cancer awareness month helps raise awareness about people like myself and encourage girls to check themselves. It really does save lives.”