Veterinary nurse credits dog with saving her life after he helped discover her breast cancer
A veterinary nurse has credited a labrador with saving her life after the pet inadvertently helped detect her fast-growing breast cancer.
Angie Shaw, from Leeds, West Yorkshire, was accidentally head butted by the dog she was treating on the consultation table and knocked over, causing a lump on her chest.
When the lump was still sore a week later, Shaw went to her GP who referred her for scans and biopsies, which revealed she had an aggressive form of breast cancer.
Just 13 days after her diagnosis, she had an operation to remove the tumour, which had already grown by two millimetres.
Doctors believe that due to its position, the tumour could have taken another ten months to be detected if Shaw had not been accidentally hit by the dog.
Her next mammogram wasn’t due for about nine months, by which time the invasive grade three cancer could have been too advanced to save her life.
"The dog saved my life," Shaw explains.
"The lump was purely coincidental and nothing to do with the cancer, but if the dog hadn’t head butted me, the cancer probably wouldn’t have shown up for nine to ten months, by which point it likely would have spread.
"It would have been too late," she adds.
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Recalling the incident that lead to her diagnosis, Shaw explains that the dog head butted her by her left breast towards her breastbone as she helped turn him over.
"A decent-sized lump appeared," she says. "I left it for a week, but it was sore, so I got a doctor’s appointment the next day.
"I thought it was a cyst," she adds.
But being told she would have to undergo surgery, chemotherapy and then radiotherapy, Shaw says her "whole world fell apart."
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The grandmother-of-three had six rounds of chemotherapy, which lasted 18 weeks, and 15 doses of radiotherapy.
She has now finished her treatment and is celebrating being cancer free, but is keen to encourage others to check for lumps as an "early diagnosis is so important".
"If I can save one person’s life by encouraging them to get lumps checked, that’s my job done," she explains.
"Breast cancer is almost a taboo subject, but it is nothing to be ashamed of.
"There’s nothing I have done to cause it. There’s nothing I could have done to prevent it."
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While Shaw says she lost some of her hair during her chemotherapy treatment she says it is a "small price to pay".
She is also keen to urge people to try and remain positive following a cancer diagnosis.
"Everyone thinks a cancer diagnosis is a death warrant, but I had to keep positive," she explains.
"An experience like that gives you a whole different perspective," she continues. "You realise how special life is and how quickly it can turn around. I have been given a second chance.
"You learn to make the most of who and what is important to you."
Additional reporting SWNS.
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