This Morning ‘s agony aunt Deidre Saunders recently revealed that she has been diagnosed with breast cancer and is set to undergo surgery this weekend.
The 77-year-old daytime television personality revealed she has a “high-grade” carcinoma in her right breast.
Known as ductal carcinoma, it is the presence of abnormal cells inside a milk duct in the breast and is the earliest form of breast cancer.
Deidre bravely shared her experience on This Morning in the hopes of getting other women to get checked, and stressed the importance of breast -screening appointments.
Revealing how she was told the devastating news back in June 2022, Deidre spoke of her early warning sign and said: “I was just achy so I had a check with my GP who saw me that day and told me there may be something.
“I was put on a two-week cancer pathway and was then referred for a mammogram.”
This is where the doctors found calcification in her breast, which is “tiny microscopic flecks of calcium”.
“And that’s when I went for my biopsy where I was told I had high-grade ductal carcinoma,” she went on.
The TV star said that she “felt lucky as I caught it early”.
Deidre discussed how she will be having a lumpectomy this weekend, which will take out the cluster in her breast and healthy tissue surrounding it and “[hoped] it hasn’t spread”.
She will then embark on some radiotherapy.
“I feel really fortunate it was caught early, but the reality is that if they can’t get it all out then I might have to have a mastectomy,” she added.
For Deidre, breast cancer ran in her family and her aunt passed away from the same disease in her late 80s, which should be a warning for others.
“When it comes to checking for breast cancer, self-examinations are key,” added Dr Nighat Arif, who also appeared on the segment to warn viewers of possible early signs not to ignore.
“This should be done once every two weeks looking for changes in the mirror, including nipple changes, skin thickening, or lumps in the breast or armpit,” she explained.
“There are also a number of lesser-known symptoms of breast cancer including back ache or jaw pain,” she said, similar to Deidre’s.
“People panic at the word cancer and are terrified of getting a diagnosis even though that leads to treatment.
“I am happy to bring it out in the open,” she said.
Importance of mammograms
Mammograms are known to save lives as they help detect cancers in their early stages, allowing more treatment options and a better chance of recovery.
In the UK, receiving an automatic notification for your next mammogram appointment stops after the age of 70.
It is therefore imperative for older women to continue with their check-ups.
“I had the mammogram because of the ache, and if you think you are too old to need one, you could make a big mistake,” warned Diedre.
“You need to write to request one, so please do that it is so worthwhile,” she added.