A Routine Mammogram Saved Her Life
- Popular British TV host Michaela Strachan, 55, a mom of one, says she initially did not want to share her breast cancer battle because she didn’t want to distract her viewers.
- Although the BBC presenter was shocked and having a hard time processing the diagnosis, she was thankful that she caught it an early stage after a routine mammogram.
- Everyone’s journey is different, and it’s important to not feel pressured into helping others until you feel you have emotionally and physically healed enough yourself.
“I wanted to just plough on as if it wasn’t all happening,” Strachan, an English “presenter” and singer, said in a new interview with Radio Times. “I didn’t want the viewers thinking about my tits when I was talking … ”Read More
“The whole team knew, all 100 of them, but I didn’t mind that. People were very discreet, supportive and kind.”
The mother of one was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014 after a routine mammogram, and underwent a double mastectomy. She had reconstructive surgery in 2015.
Once Strachan felt ready enough, she started getting involved with advocacy work, and became an ambassador for Breast Cancer Now to provide hope and strength to newly-diagnosed warriors.
“I was lucky and was diagnosed early but not everyone is so fortunate,” she shared on the organization’s site. Now that Strachan feels “strong enough” to deal with other people’s emotions on top of her own, she recognizes the opportunity that she has to raise awareness.
Meanwhile, the cancer warrior—who is also a talented singer—has not forgotten about herself and her other creative outlets, which is huge. She will be performing on British network ITV’s All Star Musicals on April 3, and recently teased a photo in sparkles, feathers, and fringe on her Instagram.
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From Survivor to Advocate
Everyone’s journey is different, and it’s important to not feel pressured into helping others until you feel you have emotionally and physically healed enough yourself. There is no shame in that.
When faced with a cancer diagnosis, some survivors are more private than others, and that’s okay. Some people need more time to process and navigate those feelings. Although it took Strachan some time, she is making a huge difference by sharing her story.
When You Are Called Back After a Mammogram
Like many women, Strachan discovered she had cancer after a routine mammogram. Thankfully she was getting checked in the first place, or it could have gone undetected. Many experts recommend to start screening at age 40, and even earlier if you have a family history.
If you get a call for more follow-up tests after a mammogram, it’s important to not panic, as it doesn’t automatically mean you have cancer. It just means that further tests—usually an MRI and/or an ultrasound— are needed. There may be something suspicious that needs to be inspected further. Nearly 80% of tumors are benign, or non-cancerous. Only a small percent of women are then found to have cancer.
If it does wind up being cancer, it’s even more important not to panic. Breathe, let the news digest, and come up with a game plan with your care team (and always be sure to get a second opinion). Just know that you did the responsible thing for your health and got screened.
Breast cancer has a high survival rate and is easy to treat in earlier stages, so it could have been much worse discovering it months or years later.
Strachan is now in the clear because she made sure she got in to get checked out. Make sure you do too. Call your doctor to set up a screening today.