Living with the Big C
09:49 19 October 2012
...is ‘not a death sentence,’ says cancer sufferer.
A cancer sufferer from Honiton hopes to encourage more women to take better care of their health after being diagnosed with an incurable cancer.
Abbey Becow was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer in August, which was found to have spread to her bones and liver.
“It was a big shock,” says the 41-year-old.
Secondary breast cancer occurs when cancer cells spread from the first tumour in the breast to another part of the body.
It is usually diagnosed after the primary breast cancer is found but may also be diagnosed at the same time.
Abbey is currently undergoing chemotherapy to manage the condition and is responding positively to treatment.
She said: “Cancer does not have to mean death - there are plenty of people living with cancer, who are being treated and leading normal lives.
“It is not anything to be scared of and does not need to be a taboo subject.”
Although the condition cannot be cured, the cancer can be treated as Abbey explains: “It is terminal and they can’t cure it, but women can go on and lead relatively normal lives.”
She told the Midweek Herald that treatments are available to manage the symptoms and are changing with developments in medicine to help sufferers prolong their lives.
The publishing assistant for Token Publishing Ltd hopes her story will encourage women to make sure they regularly check themselves.
She said: “I would like to say how important it is for women to check themselves, even though they are busy, and not to put it off.
“It is terrible if left and can progress into something more serious.”
Abbey says the experience has made her appreciate life much more and has been overwhelmed by support. She added: “It is a cliche but it has made me appreciate life. Everyone knows they should be making the most of every day and not thinking about what they have got to do.”
Her close friend Klara Bodfish has shown her support by taking part in a sponsored head shave on Saturday for FORCE Cancer Care, which has provided valuable support for Abbey and her family.
In preparation for the head shave, which coincided with Breast Cancer Care’s Secondary Breast Cancer Awareness Day, Klara has been busy crocheting different coloured hats for them both to wear.
Her hair will also be donated to the Little Princess Trust, which provides real-hair wigs to boys and girls across the UK and Ireland, who have lost their own hair through cancer treatment.
So far Klara has raised £1,200 for FORCE.
Anyone wishing to donate can visit www.justgiving.com/Klara-Bodfish