New Celebrity Diagnosis

Seeing M Navratilova diagnosed with BC will probably push the topic into the news again with a debate about regular screening. Other European Countries start their screening programmes much earlier than the UK, do we need to lobby to follow suit? Tina

I wonder too about earlier screening. I saw recently on the news that the question of whether screening did more harm than good seems to have been addressed with the finding that 2/3 cases diagnosed did result in improoved outcomes - anyone better informed/able to explain than I please feel free!

Being young to get breast cancer (36 at diagnosis) I have wondered about earlier screening though I know the figures for young women are still very low. I read 1 in 3000 pregnancies are the trigger for some breast cancers and my medical team were confident my pregnancies had helped my breast cancer along (my youngest was 7 months and my eldest just about 3 years). So I dud think I’ve vaguely wondered about something to do with checks for women post pregnancy and definately about increased awareness for the risks.

I also wonder about the increased genetic risk (aside from the BRAC1 & 2 gene) for adults whose mothers developed breast cancer before the age of 50 and if earlier screening should be available in these cases.

Sorry - I’m a bit vauge and wondery today and my post isn’t necessarily the best thought through or informed! But hey, why waste my efforts - I’ll post it still!

I agree with the earlier screening, but also more info on breast awareness. I am constantly amazed at family and friends comments re ‘symptoms’… without exception they have all said a painless lump in the breast or arm pit. Most of us know that is not always the case, my fear is that so much goes undiagnosed because of this myth… leaving it too late for too many women. I am shocked at the number of posts where even GPs have this belief.
Since being diagnosed in February, the only constant emotion has been anger… not at it happening to me, not at the surgery or chemo - but at my ignorance of BC. I am an educated, successful, aware woman… and I am ashamed to say that I was in the painless lump camp before dx.


im sad to say i was like that too before my mums diagnosis in 2004, even as a nurse we were taught that painless lumps were cancer and everything else was usually normal.

since then as a family planning nurse i always try to instil the importance of breast awareness and even when i was teaching in schools i tried to make younger girls aware of changes that need to be checked out.

as for earlier screening they are planning to introduce an extension to the national screening programme where women will be checked from 47 to 73 so would have one earlier mammo and one later one as standard.

as georgia said to do screening for every woman form age 40 would identify loads of women who could potentially need investigations, treatment or surgery for something which may not be life threatening… the screening programme is good at picking up pre-cancerous DCIS but this doesnt mean it would definitely turn into cancer. most invasive cancers are picked up through breast awareness.


I give regular talks on bc to medical students at our GP surgery and I always emphasise that they should always send a woman to have breast symptoms investigated,including pain,and regardless of age unless they are 100% certain of the cause.

I do think it needs to be made clearer that even at a younger age and most certainly after childbirth, women should regularly check their breasts. My cancer was very hormone receptive and I have had 3 children, so pregnancy could have triggered it, but who knows.

I did not check my breasts at all, just didnt think to. It was only by pure chance that I had an itch on my chest and as I scratched ran my finger over a lump. Only after seeing the gp and being referred did I actually look at myself in the mirror and could plainly see the difference in one breast to the other.

I am very lucky to have found it early, but it is clear to see that even my friends have commented since that they never check themselves, but obviously do now that they have a friend with Breast Cancer.

Because the screening starts at 50, it automatically makes many women think that it is something that does not happen to younger women. So although screening may not be an option, more awareness to check yourself would be beneficial. Discussing this at Family planning, ante-natal, schools, post natal appointments is a great route to do this as has been mentioned.



Just wanted to say that it is important for women of any age to check their breasts regularly. I had always attended my mammogram appointments but I was diagnosed with 6cm IDC in Mar 09 which was just one year after a clear mammogram. I found the lump by accident. I was 61 at diagnosis and think I had been given a false sense of security by the screening so I wasn’t checking my breasts as often as I should. I believe mammograms pick up something like 85% of cancers, it certainly isn’t 100%.


I was diagnosed first at 38 and my daughter will be invited for scans from early 30s but I have taught her how to check herself. I was taught in 1976 by a family planning nurse, and checking myself has found two cancers now. I just think its an easy habit to get into and can make a big difference
monica xx

hi tina

On the news this eveing it said that martina natratalova had breast cancer which was picked up early on a routine mammogramme. On the AOL news it stated that this was dcis a pre-cancer which is not invasive breast cancer and to my knowledge is curable. Although she is over fifty she will have access to regular screening as part of her private health care plan. The British NHS screening is 3 yearly for women over fifty and the machines used will also be digital and not the old type which they are still using in the NHS mobile units. Two totally different worlds.


Just to emphasise the importantance of breast awareness and checking yourself regularly as Monica says. I had a mammogram and nothing was found but six months later I found a lump and now have secondaries. There was no evidence of lump in mammogram so it is not a catch all examination.

I do think we should teach girls at school how to check themselves regularly.

Anne xx


I just read the article in the mail,it said Martina Navratilova revealed yesterday that she is battling cancer.Then later it says she has DCIS.Now dont get me wrong, I know a diagnosis of DCIS is just as traumatic as a diagnosis of invasive cancer.But why use the term battling,maybe its just me but I did find it a bit annoying.It also says that Miss Navratilova says, that by the time it becomes a lump its too late.Too late for what?.

best wishes Mel xx

It´s good that it´s been brought into the publics awareness again , but there will be a lot of “mis -information” ,simply because it´s journalists writing and not always reporting accuratly what M.N. has actually said .
Although my BC has nothing to do with pregnancies , ( 58 and eldest son 40 ) I do remember my friends sister at the age of 28 being diagnosed with breast cancer when she was pregnant with her third child , this was back in the late seventies .
I had no lumps , no pain , nothing and I´m not particually aware of health issues ,but just felt that I needed to book a mammogram , thankfully , my doctor did´nt argue , filled in a form and two months later I had it , and there it was ,how lucky was I ?!

Since listening to the radio this morning re: MN diagnosis of breast cancer, l have been extremely upset, a doctor was talking about how lucky she was as it had not spread to the lymph glands. He said she will make a full recovery, but had it been in her lymph glands that was a different thing all together. and she would then have only a small chance survival! This totally threw me as l was diagnosed with 16 glands infected.
I have read some positive comments on this forum, but these so called doctors should really think what they are saying before they open their mouths.
Sandra x

Yes, I have to confess being a bit irritated by the reporting, once again. It was billed as ‘shocking’ news - but breast cancer is very common, so ‘upsetting, distressing, sad’ - yes, but ‘shocking’ - why, because she is a star, because she is fit - these things don’t make you immune! I am sure it was very shocking to her, and I have every sympathy, but the press should know that over-dramatising it can cause great upset amongst those recently diagnosed. It also adds to the public fear and horror associated with cancer. When I was diagnosed it was other shocked reaction that really got me upset, the doctors themselves were calm and practical.

And I agree with the others, the implication that tumours and lymph node involvement spells the end for most people is totally misleading - speaking as somebody who had both and still doing fine 6 years later!

I wish they would think before going to print!


Hi all

I was diagnosed with 2 stage 2 tumours and 2 lymph nodes involved and was always given positive vibes from medical staff. I underwent all the treatment chemo hormone therapy etc. The reporters sometimes comment without thought for all ordinary women going through BC.

Carolyn x

yes I agree with everyone, i watched the news story on news at ten and the implication was very clear - Martina is a battler and a survivor and as it hasn’t gone to her lymph nodes then she will make a full recovery - for the rest of us who arn’t tennis champions and where there has been spread well we are doomed!

I think I am fairly ‘normal’ and farily ‘intelligent’ and I know the journalists want a good story and at the time dismissed it as this… but it has played on my mind… I got little sleep last night tossing and turning thinking about how much time I have got left etc… its not very helpful and very insensative reporting in my opinion.

When I was first diagnosed I remember saying nervously to my BCN ‘I am stage 2, you do ok with stage 2 people these days?’ and she said firmly ‘actually these days we do very well with stage 3 and have lots to offer to stage 4’ which put me in my place…and this is the message that should be coming across.

The trouble is that they go for ‘she will be fine as its very early’ implying the opposite for everybody else, - they need a whack over the ears from my BCN!


One of the things I have learnt in the 2 and a half years since diagnosis is how unpredictable breast cancer is,how women with excellent prognosis with no lymph node involvement go on to get secondary’s and others with high lymph node involvement and not so good prognosis dont.We just have to hope and pray that the treatment we have been given has done its job, and blasted anything nasty lurking about into infinity and beyond.I just wish these damn reporters would get it right for once.

best wishes Mel xx

The bottom line is, its more important from their perspective to sell papers etc than to get the story right, so I guess they will always sacrifice accuracy (and humanity, eg towards other, less famous folks with the same disease) to sensationalism.
I vote we go for the whack over the ears from Sarahs BCN

I second that lol x