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Catherine's Story

Catherine Pritchard is a mum of two, Chief Inspector in the Police, wife, daughter, sister, keen horse rider, passionate about helping others, and more than used to coping with stress on a daily basis.

When she was just 45 Catherine, now 52, found a peppercorn-sized lump in her breast and when cancer was diagnosed she went from feeling invincible to completely floored. Thankfully her support network, a double mastectomy, and chemotherapy dealt with the cancer… until it returned in 2022.

Catherine, who is shortly due to return to work, is now also turning her experiences and attention to helping others deal with cancer in her spare time.

Catherine Pritchard, Patient Story | Lingen Davies

Finding a Lump

“I was 45 when I found a peppercorn-sized lump in my right breast, just on the bra line at the bottom. I thought nothing of it and (always glass half full!) was convinced it was nothing.

It was found to be grade-three aggressive, and I had to have six rounds of chemotherapy in Shrewsbury between 2015 and 2016. Alongside that I elected to go to Stoke for a double mastectomy and reconstruction. The surgeon there was incredible and really changed my life, it all went really well. It’s so important to have trust in the medical team and nurses and I was able to live a full life afterwards because of the trust and compassion of the team in Shrewsbury and Stoke.

From that point I had regular check-ups.”

Working in the Police Force

Catherine has always wanted to work in the Police force since the age of seven, and has progressed through the ranks to become Chief Inspector – a role where in her words ‘I try and make order out of chaos’.

“At times it has been a big role, with huge responsibilities, I’ve had hundreds of staff working for me and it has been high pressure. I have been fortunate enough to have had many different roles in the Police and more recently my role has been to manage critical incidents and sensitive communities. I’ve always thought I was a bit invincible and I didn’t understand vulnerability then but I really do now.”

Catherine Pritchard, Patient Story | Lingen Davies

Catherine Joined the National Police Wellbeing Programme

Her cancer diagnosis led her to access counselling services within the Police force and Catherine went on to join the national Police Wellbeing programme, delivering talks about vulnerability, resilience, and understanding.

“That side of my work is very important to me, helping others. I’m very passionate about compassion in dealing with other people – whoever they are.

“I was completely floored when they found my cancer, and in shock, I didn’t know if I would live, or what would happen. It was really difficult, my husband, daughters, parents, friends and colleagues got me through -. It’s not one person that makes a difference it’s a team. I have a lot of experience to draw on and help others now, I want to do what I can to share my knowledge and would like to launch a podcast.

“Everyone around me has been affected by my cancer diagnosis, my parents too, the whole team, it’s not just happened to me.”

Finding Another Lump

In November 22 Catherine found another little lump, in the same place as the first.



Second Cancer Diagnosis

“I thought it couldn’t be anything, but it was. When they did my mastectomy there was no visible breast tissue left, but there must have been something left – so small not even visible to the eye – because my type of cancer is not hormonal. After years it was incredibly rare for this to happen.

I didn’t know what I had left to give it this time, I had given everything I had to give last time, to beat it. I’m a very positive person and give it all I can, but I didn’t know if I had anything left.

“My daughters were more aware this time of what I was going through (age 16 and 18 when I was diagnosed a second time) And my husband also had cancer himself, having been diagnosed with lymphatic cancer. He had chemotherapy at the LD Cancer Centre for Hodgkins Lymphoma. The girls have had a lot to deal with but have dealt with it well and I am very proud of them – I couldn’t have got through this year without them.

The Impact of Recurring Cancer

The brutal impact of it being a recurring cancer has been very challenging.”

Like the first time Catherine lost most of her hair during treatment but despite not knowing how she was going to get through it again, she has.

“When I went through treatment the second time I had an idea of what to expect, so I didn’t do the ‘COLD CAP’ as I found it medieval and painful the first time around and I was only left with a ‘baby’ covering of hair so it wasn’t worth it for me.

“It’s a cruel process, to get rid of the cancer I had a very strong chemotherapy regime and have come out of it really well. I finished my treatment eight weeks ago and I have taken my recovery really seriously, I started yoga and do regular counselling which makes a big difference and has given me the inspiration to keep going. I have joined a national breast cancer support group online and I also have joined my local leisure centre which has classes everyday and ride and compete my horse regularly. I have exercised myself to a positive mindset.

Catherine Pritchard, Patient Story | Lingen Davies

Catherine's Experiences to Help and Support Others

“This time around cancer has become so big in my life and has really affected me. I believe it’s a message to help others and support them. I have been given this strength to do something. I want to share my experiences and help others.”

Catherine is going back into the police for now but her focus for helping others is even greater.

Helping Others

“I knew I wanted to join the police when I was seven as I always knew I wanted to help others and now even more I want to help others see that there are so many ways to approach cancer treatment and recovery. I am gifted with natural optimism that I know not everybody has, especially in challenging times and I want to share that gift.

“Helping other people will make the cancer worthwhile, I want to do something positive with it. I feel really energised about it.”

“Helping other people will make the cancer worthwhile, I want to do something positive with it. I feel really energised about it.”

Find a Local Cancer Information

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