October 14, 2021 10.34 am This story is over 25 months old

Brave Lincolnshire couple in cancer fight together

Myra is urging others to check for early symptoms

A Lincolnshire woman recovering from breast cancer is urging others to regularly check for early signs and symptoms.

Myra Coates from Boston was told she had breast cancer not long after her husband Mick, 68, was diagnosed with colon cancer.

Mick was still recovering when Myra found a lump in her breast. After surgery and chemotherapy, she suffered with fatigue and anxiety, and felt the pressure to get back to ‘normal’.

With the help of Macmillan Information and Support team in Lincolnshire, Myra is now on the road to recovery.

The 64-year-old now wants to share her experience to raise awareness as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October. She aims to make sure others are aware of the early signs and symptoms, and go to the GP.

Myra said: “I got to the end of treatment and it was like I fell down a hole. It’s like you have been on a merry go round of treatment and hospital appointments and blood tests and all of a sudden that stops and you fall into a dark place.

“I really didn’t know what to do with myself. That’s when I spoke to Claire from Macmillan. She encouraged me to join the Lincolnshire Macmillan Cancer Support Group which she runs with Annie, my Macmillan Breast Cancer Care co-ordinator. It really helped to talk to other people who have been through it.

“Early diagnosis is so important for survival so I want to urge everyone to please check their breasts regularly and go to their GP if they have any concerns.”

Myra ringing the bell in hospital to celebrate her last round of treatment.

She added: “I was on a downward spiral, getting more and more tired all the time. I would look in the mirror and not recognise the woman looking back. I did Macmillan’s iHope course which made me realise that you can’t get back to what you were before.

“You’re never going to look the same as you did before. I’ve had a mastectomy. My hair has grown back a different colour and style. You hanker after going back to normal, but you can’t expect that, you have to create a new normal. It really helped me to set targets and pace myself.”

Each year about 55,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK – see more information on signs and symptoms of breast cancer here or call the Macmillan Support Line on 0808 808 00 00.

Lincolnshire centres can be called on 01522 573799 (Lincoln), 01205 446392 (Boston), 01476 464978 (Grantham) or via email at [email protected].

Possible signs and symptoms of breast cancer can include:

  • A lump in the breast
  • Thickening of the skin or tissue of the breast, or dimpling of the skin of the breast
  • A lump or swelling in either armpit
  • A change in the shape or size of the breast, such as a swelling in all or part of the breast
  • A nipple turning in (inverted nipple)
  • A rash (like eczema) on the nipple
  • Discharge or bleeding from the nipple
  • Pain or discomfort in the breast that does not go away, but this is rare

Beverley Flockhart, Macmillan information and support manager in Lincolnshire, said: “October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month which is a reminder for us all to be vigilant for any signs and symptoms of breast cancer.

“We know that early detection is key to successful treatment so it’s important to be aware of any changes and if you are concerned about anything please go to your GP to get checked out.”