Sixty year old Nesta Darch from Pontypridd was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2008 following a routine breast screening invite from Breast Test Wales that women get invited to when they reach 50 years old.
Nesta who lives with husband Don of 40 years, has two children and four grandchildren.
Nesta said: “I received a letter through the post inviting me to attend for a screening, as you do when you reach 50 years old.
“On the day I was due to attend the appointment I was in a meeting at work and was struggling to get out as the meeting over run. I wasn’t going to bother, after all I hadn’t experienced any problems or found any lumps in my breasts.
“I remember my colleague that I was working with at the time saying, ‘now come on Nesta you must go, these things are really important’, so I collected my things and ran out of the office in the hope that I could make the appointment on time.”
A week after the mammogram Nesta received a letter post marked Breast Test Wales, she said: “My heart sunk when the letter came through my door only a week after the test. The letter stated that they had seen a problem and I was to go for a biopsy.
“After that everything happened so fast. It was on a Thursday that I had the biopsy and on the Friday they informed me there were signs of breast cancer cells.
“Everything goes through your mind when they mention the ‘C’ word. Why me? I had never smoked, never drunk excessively and I kept reasonably fit. I had never felt any pain or found any lumps in my breasts. It was such a huge shock!”
The next steps for Nesta was an MRI scan to see where exactly it was located. In December 2008 just weeks after the initial screening she underwent a lumpectomy followed by a mastectomy in January 2009.
Nesta re-calls the consultant saying, “Nesta if you hadn’t gone for that screening the next invite would have been three years later and I would have been giving you a completely different diagnosis then to the positive one I am giving you now.”
Ten years on and Nesta is feeling fit and well and fortunately not encountered any further problems. Nesta says, “I cannot reiterate how important it is to go for these routine tests even if you are not having any symptoms of breast pain.
“I am so grateful to the care I received from the breast care nurses and the consultant at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital during this stressful and worrying time. So much so that I became treasurer for the Giving To Pink fundraising group which is founded by Clare Smart, another grateful patient. The money raised will buy furnishings to make the new breast care unit as homely and comfortable as possible for the people of Cwm Taf.
“Giving To Pink has raised a huge £286,000 for the breast care unit and money is still coming in. The kind and generous donations received from community fundraising is amazing. Every penny raised will go towards the unit and the more we raise the better the unit will be.”
Important note for donations:
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