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Breast cancer: Dr Chris on 'breakthrough' Enhertu drug

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Speaking with Express.co.uk, Collier spoke about his mother’s ongoing treatment for breast cancer. The second time she has battled cancer during her life, the star detailed how her breast cancer diagnosis was a “double blow”. As a result she kept her diagnosis hidden for a relatively long time, instead distracting herself with the immense pride she has seeing her children lead successful lives and careers. Sharing his mother’s story, and the impact it has had on himself, Collier was motivated to support this year’s Race for Life, an annual series of events set up around the country by Cancer Research UK. The events help raise money for research into all 200 types of cancer.

“I told her off,” Collier says, explaining about when he found out about his mother’s diagnosis and how she had kept it to herself for a while.

“I am the oldest son so I told her off for keeping it to herself. She lives in Norwich and we all live in London. And obviously Drag Race was kind of coming up and so she didn’t want to get in the way of all of that. So she dealt with it on her own.

“She had a form of breast cancer which isn’t obvious. There was no obvious lump or anything like that, depakote when pregnant ” Collier continued.

“So she wasn’t initially aware of what was going on. She was diagnosed in October time and I was doing Drag Race, so she said it was a really good distraction from everything going on.

“She then had an operation to remove one of her breasts and now she will be on chemo number five out of six this week.”

The NHS explains that one in eight individuals are diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime. Most individuals are diagnosed over the age of 50, but it is possible for younger women to also get breast cancer.

If caught early enough, the condition can be treated with a good chance of recovery.

Although thought of as a disease that only affects women, it is possible for the small amount of breast tissue behind the nipple that men have, to become cancerous. For this reason, it’s vital that individuals see their doctor if they notice any unusual changes.

The most common signs or symptoms of breast cancer, regardless of gender include:

  • A new lump or thickening in your breast or armpit
  • A change in size, shape or feel of your breast
  • Skin changes in the breast such as puckering, dimpling, a rash or redness of the skin
  • Fluid leaking from the nipple in a woman who isn’t pregnant or breast feeding
  • Changes in the position of the nipple.

When asked if his mother’s health ordeal has affected his outlook on life and health, Collier replied: “My job has always been very physical and I have always tried to keep myself healthy. It has always been a thing to keep myself fit and strong.

“Obviously with everything going on in my life it is not the easiest thing to stay fit and healthy both mentally and physically because I am busy, busy, busy.

“But it has definitely made me more aware of how short life is. You can never not follow your passions and your dreams. On the mental side it has made me realise that life really is too short to worry about things.

“My mum, bless her, has had cancer twice and you know that is really bad luck. The stats show that one in two people will likely have some form of cancer in their lifetime and that is a terrible, terrible stat.

“My mum, the most important person in the world, has suffered from cancer and is going through treatment right now and it is such an ordeal for someone to go through. The treatment is a battle in itself, seeing my mum lose her hair, feeling so ill and at times feeling hopeless. It has been really tough.”

Depending on the type of breast cancer, and how early it is detected, treatment may differ for every individual. Surgery is often the first port of call and can be followed by hormone therapy, chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

There are two main types of breast cancer surgery, both of which have been proved to be successful in treating the disease:

  • Breast-conserving surgery, where the cancerous lump (tumour) is removed
  • Mastectomy, where the whole breast is removed.

Although Collier is unable to physically take part in the Race for Life events this year, he expressed the importance of others joining in. He said: “If I was in the country I would have 100 percent been there and taken part. It looks like the most amazing event and it is such an inclusive environment no matter how old or young you are you can take it at your own pace.”

Giving some advice to others who may be supporting a loved one through cancer, the star added: “Just be there for the person. Some people don’t want a lot of fuss but others need people to be there all the time. You can also provide some amazing gifts for chemo treatment such as cushions, hats and various things that will help someone in whatever way they think is best.”

Ella Vaday is supporting Race for Life in partnership with Tesco. Everyone has a reason to Race for Life. Who will you Race for? Sign up to your local event at raceforlife.org

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