Letter: Any publicity about breast cancer is good

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The Independent Online
I read your article "Be aware - but don't panic" (Real Life, 28 September) with interest, as I am a 27-year-old with breast cancer.

Heightened awareness and increased politicisation of breast cancer issues can only be beneficial for future patients. The article states that the risk to a woman in her twenties is less than one in a thousand. However, it is still there.

My own breast lump was wrongly diagnosed as benign because I was young and thought to be at little risk. It was not until I became seriously ill with secondary tumours in my liver that my treatment began. As a result of the delay, I have suffered pain, discomfort and a shortened life-expectancy.

Your article fails to allay the fears of the unlucky women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. The range of treatments is increasing all the time, and there are many, many women who live fulfilling lives after treatment. All women need to know that a breast cancer diagnosis is not necessarily a death sentence.

Cancer and death are still taboo subjects in our society, but the breast cancer awareness month is helping to change attitudes. If women did not have to fight for the best health care, alarmist tactics would not be necessary. For the moment, all publicity is good publicity.

Alison Lee Cheadle, Cheshire

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