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‘If you find a lump, get it checked out’

A YOUNG Lifford woman is urging anyone who finds a suspicious lump on their breast to get it checked out as soon as they can.

After a recent breast cancer scare Caoimhe Harkin has some simple advice: “Take care of yourself ladies because your health really is your wealth.”

Explaining her own journey Caoimhe said, “A few weeks ago I noticed my breast was a difference size and I could feel a lump, it was the size of a golf ball.

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“My family history with cancer on both sides is quite bad so I had my mum feel the lump and then we both went to the breast clinic together. I had a scan and then I got advised to have an operation.”

Caoimhe, who was just 24-year-old when she found the lump, was then admitted to Altnagelvin for surgery.

She explained, “My operation was a precautionary removal due to my family history. It was done under local anaesthetic and I have been back since for a follow up appointment. I’m still recovering and still have stitches. I should find out the results from it all in a couple of weeks.

“The first week post op was extremely painful I won’t lie,” Caoimhe explained. “But I am very glad I had it. I got lucky, some people don’t. And you never know what tomorrow could bring or what’s around the corner so it’s important to look after yourself as best you can, when you can.

“I feel so much better now post-op and I am going public with my experience because I think it’s so important. Some of my best friends never check their breasts and I thought it was a good message to put out there.”

Caoimhe’s experiences really hit home in recent days when she heard about Girls Aloud star Sarah Harding who revealed she has been diagnosed with advanced breast cancer.

Reacting to the news Caoimhe explained, “I felt absolutely awful when I head about Sarah Harding. No one deserves that news or to have to go through that.

“My heart goes out to her and everyone suffering.

“And also it’s not fair she couldn’t get the privacy she wanted, but that’s today’s world and social media. It’s very powerful and amazing but it also has a very bad side too.”

Urging anyone, young or old to get checked out if they notice any changes in their body, Caoimhe added, “Ask someone you trust for their help and advice – your best friend, mum, auntie, sister – whoever you feel comfortable with – and always go to your GP.

“Even if it turns out to be nothing it’s better to be sure. It could save your life.”

Concluding Caoimhe thanked everyone for their support during her ordeal, she added, “Since my operation it’s amazing how many messages I’ve had people saying they didn’t regularly check or ever check their breasts, and that’s the main reason I went public with what I went through. Take care of yourself ladies because your health really is your wealth.”

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The Strabane Chronicle is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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