“I never felt so fit and healthy in my life” – how diagnosis gave Deborah the drive to raise awareness

Deborah Parsons is hoping to raise awareness following her own breast cancer diagnosis. Here she is

Deborah Parsons is hoping to raise awareness following her own breast cancer diagnosis. Here she is pictured with her two daughters Bethany and Sammy and her two grandchildren. Picture: Deborah Parsons - Credit: Archant

A Sidmouth woman undergoing chemotherapy is shaving her hair to highlight the importance of breast cancer screening.

Deborah Parsons was diagnosed on July 28 after having a mammogram. It was later found to be the aggressive HER2 strain of the disease.

According to Breast Cancer Now, mammogram screenings can prevents an estimated 1,300 deaths from breast cancer each year in the UK.

To mark breast cancer awareness month, the mum-of-three is teaming with Fields on Saturday, October 12, to have her head shaved for Sidmouth Living With Cancer.

The shave will come less than a week after her first chemotherapy session, which she will attend weekly for three months. It will be followed by a further year of Herceptin treatment.

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Mrs Parsons said: "I really want to highlight to other women to go to their appointment because it could save their life.

"This is my second mammogram and I am 52. For five minutes discomfort and having your breasts squashed it could potentially save your life.

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"I had no lump. I had never felt so fit and well in all my life. My breast tried to kill me."

Women aged 50 to 71 are invited for a mammogram every three years as part of a national breast screening programme, which is made up of a mammogram x-ray.

Following her screening, doctors found calcifications, small dots of calcium salts that can be found in breast tissue. Occasionally these cells can be an early sign of cancer and Mrs Parsons was sent for an ultrasound and then a biopsy.

She said: "I went on holiday to North Wales, I climbed Mount Snowdon. I thought everything would be fine."

The grandmother-of-two says she has been supported by her family following the loss of her mother in the summer and having to give up her small cleaning business.

On September 6, Mrs Parsons underwent a four hour operation to have a mastectomy on her left breast and reconstruction surgery.

Her hair will be shaved by her late mum's hairdresser Jane Trevett and she hopes people will give generously to support the Sidmouth cause.

"I want to be able to support Sidmouth Living With Cancer as it is help so many people battling the disease," she said.

The shave will take place at 2pm.

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