BBC presenter confesses she feels ‘helpless’ after ‘scary’ breast cancer diagnosis
- BBC presenter Mari Grug from Wales was diagnosed with cancer in May
- READ MORE: What every middle-aged woman needs to know about cancer
A BBC presenter has revealed how she was left feeling ‘helpless’ after receiving a cancer diagnosis.
Mari Grug, 38, who lives in Carmarthenshire, Wales, was diagnosed with breast cancer in May and it has since spread to her lymph nodes and liver.
The S4C presenter is undergoing seven cycles of chemotherapy and is due to have a mastectomy before Christmas, but she is ‘eternally grateful’ for the opportunity to fight the disease.
Mari, who is a presenter of the Heno and Prynhawn Da programmes on S4C and BBC Radio Cymru, told the BBC she ‘hadn’t expected the diagnosis to happen to her’.
The BBC presenter, who is familiar with the disease since her mother, now 71, was diagnosed in 1999, said: ‘[My mum] said to me that finding out you have breast cancer is not the end of the world, but unfortunately, with myself the breast cancer has spread to the lymph nodes and to the liver so my diagnosis is slightly different to what she had and it’s just been quite scary.’
Mari Grug from South Wales has said that she felt ‘helpless’ after receiving a breast cancer diagnosis
Mari found a lump in her breast on the 13 April, and quickly saw her GP a few days later, but she was not seen by the Breast Unit in Llandelli before the end of that month.
She told the BBC: ‘You don’t ever expect it to happen to you… you just feel so helpless’.
‘I don’t look sick, but this doesn’t mean I’m ok.’
‘I’d like to keep on working but I’ll see how I feel as the chemo progresses.’
She also took to Instagram to warn others who are worried about a change in their body to go and see the GP immediately.
She wrote: ‘In May I was diagnosed with breast cancer that’s spread to the lymph nodes and liver.
‘I am having some heavy doses of Chemotherapy but I’m eternally grateful that I’m given the chance to fight this awful disease.
‘The little ones are keeping me going and Gareth is my absolute rock. We are also lucky to have such wonderful family and friends around us too.
‘For those reading my post who are worried about a change in their body, please go and see your GP immediately.
Mari found a lump in her breast in April and saw her GP a few days later, but she did not get seen by the hospital until the end of the month
Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world and affects more than two MILLION women a year
Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world. Each year in the UK there are more than 55,000 new cases, and the disease claims the lives of 11,500 women. In the US, it strikes 266,000 each year and kills 40,000. But what causes it and how can it be treated?
What is breast cancer?
It comes from a cancerous cell which develops in the lining of a duct or lobule in one of the breasts.
When the breast cancer has spread into surrounding tissue it is called ‘invasive’. Some people are diagnosed with ‘carcinoma in situ’, where no cancer cells have grown beyond the duct or lobule.
Most cases develop in those over the age of 50 but younger women are sometimes affected. Breast cancer can develop in men, though this is rare.
Staging indicates how big the cancer is and whether it has spread. Stage 1 is the earliest stage and stage 4 means the cancer has spread to another part of the body.
The cancerous cells are graded from low, which means a slow growth, to high, which is fast-growing. High-grade cancers are more likely to come back after they have first been treated.
What causes breast cancer?
A cancerous tumour starts from one abnormal cell. The exact reason why a cell becomes cancerous is unclear. It is thought that something damages or alters certain genes in the cell. This makes the cell abnormal and multiply ‘out of control’.
Although breast cancer can develop for no apparent reason, there are some risk factors that can increase the chance, such as genetics.
What are the symptoms of breast cancer?
The usual first symptom is a painless lump in the breast, although most are not cancerous and are fluid filled cysts, which are benign.
The first place that breast cancer usually spreads to is the lymph nodes in the armpit. If this occurs you will develop a swelling or lump in an armpit.
How is breast cancer diagnosed?
- Initial assessment: A doctor examines the breasts and armpits. They may do tests such as a mammography, a special x-ray of the breast tissue which can indicate the possibility of tumours.
- Biopsy: A biopsy is when a small sample of tissue is removed from a part of the body. The sample is then examined under a microscope to look for abnormal cells. The sample can confirm or rule out cancer.
If you are confirmed to have breast cancer, further tests may be needed to assess if it has spread. For example, blood tests, an ultrasound scan of the liver or a chest X-ray.
How is breast cancer treated?
Treatment options which may be considered include surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and hormone treatment. Often a combination of two or more of these treatments are used.
- Surgery: Breast-conserving surgery or the removal of the affected breast depending on the size of the tumour.
- Radiotherapy: A treatment which uses high energy beams of radiation focused on cancerous tissue. This kills cancer cells, or stops them from multiplying. It is mainly used in addition to surgery.
- Chemotherapy: A treatment of cancer by using anti-cancer drugs which kill cancer cells, or stop them from multiplying.
- Hormone treatments: Some types of breast cancer are affected by the ‘female’ hormone oestrogen, which can stimulate the cancer cells to divide and multiply. Treatments which reduce the level of these hormones, or prevent them from working, are commonly used in people with breast cancer.
How successful is treatment?
The outlook is best in those who are diagnosed when the cancer is still small, and has not spread. Surgical removal of a tumour in an early stage may then give a good chance of cure.
The routine mammography offered to women between the ages of 50 and 70 means more breast cancers are being diagnosed and treated at an early stage.
For more information visit breastcancernow.org or call its free helpline on 0808 800 6000
‘I found a lump in my breast on the 13 of April, saw my GP a few days later and was seen at the Breast Unit in Llanelli before the end of the month.
‘But I did have to wait a while to have all my scans done and reported on.
‘Totally gutted not be in the Show this week and to present one of my favourite events of the year.
‘But I’m hoping to be able to continue working a little over the next few weeks, with the Heno team and for Radio Cymru.
‘Thanks for all your kind messages, they are really spurring me on. I’m keeping positive and I hope to see you all soon.’
Breast cancer is one of the most common forms of the disease in the UK, with around 55,000 women and 370 men being diagnosed with it each year, according to Breast Cancer Now.
While breast cancer is highly treatable, it is crucial to spot it as early as possible, as the longer it goes without treatment the higher the risk it can pose.
Despite years of pleas from cancer charities, more than a third of women in the UK still do not regularly assess their breasts.
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