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Breast cancer awareness month

A Cockermouth woman is encouraging as many people as possible to join her for a special Whinlatter Park run to raise money for the North Cumbria Breast Service.

Sue Black was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2018 following a routine mammogram. In February of that year Sue underwent surgery with the North Cumbria Breast Service to remove the tumour. Sue is helping raise money for the breast service to buy some equipment that would make this surgery less intrusive.

Sue said: “Before my surgery I needed to have a guidewire inserted so that the surgeons could locate the tumour then after surgery this was removed as part of a separate procedure.

“When I heard about the money being raised for the radio frequency seed localisation I was keen to help as having the guide wire inserted was the hardest part of the surgery for me. Plus I believe the service we have in Cumbria is excellent, my surgeon Ludger and all the breast care team I had contact with provided excellent care, being compassionate at all times. The opportunity to give something back was not to be missed.”

Consultant Surgeon Mr Ludger Barthelmes explains more about the equipment: “Sue’s cancer was detected as part of routine breast screening, it was so small that it would not have been possible for the surgeon to feel the tumour to safely find and remove it. The radiology department inserted the guidewire under local anaesthetic using ultrasound guidance shortly before Sue went into theatre for the operation to remove the tumour.

“The equipment that we would like to purchase is called Radiofrequency Seed Localisation. Radiofrequency seeds are small metallic pellets about the size of a rice grain. They can be introduced into the tumour under ultrasound or x-ray guidance weeks or even months before surgery. A special probe detects the radio-signal which is emitted from the ‘seed pellet’ which enables the surgeon to localise the pellet within the breast and remove the surrounding tissue.

“This method is less intrusive for the patient, who do not have to go through the process of inserting the guidewire on the day of surgery and people will spend less time in hospital.”

Sue, who is 56, is hoping to encourage as many people as possible to run the Whinlatter park run on Saturday 19th October to help her raise the cash needed to buy this equipment.

She says: “I started running after my diagnosis as a way of improving my health, and Whinlatter park run was the first park run I did (a tough one to start with!!) I have continued with the running as alongside our excellent medical care I believe it is also important to look after our bodies as best we can. I remain a slow runner and it is always a challenge but I would encourage anyone to give it a go.

“I will be the tail walker on the 19th October so I ask that everyone should join in no matter how slow you move I will be alongside you.”

Although Sue is still in treatment she has a very positive outlook: “I still have to take hormone therapy for another 3 years and I get annual mammograms and reviews with the Breast care team but I am doing very well.”

If you are unable to come to Whinlatter on Saturday, but wish to support the development of radiofrequency localisation in Cumbria, the Carlisle Breast Care Support Group have set up a Crowdfunding site for this purpose  https://justgiving.com/crowdfunding/lesley-norman?utm_term=kW3zpGnwk

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