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Jayne's Story

Jayne saw her step-dad pass away from prostate cancer and has had two lots of cancer operations herself – she wants to use her experience to help others and has become a valued cancer champion.

Jayne Brooks from Shrewsbury could not imagine what she was going to go through and how her life was going to change when she saw her step-dad suffering.

At the age of 72 he died of prostate cancer but had been fit and healthy beforehand.

He’d put his aches and pains down to manual work and didn’t follow up with appointments. But Jayne did.

Prostate Cancer

“If he had done something about it he would probably be here today,” she said.

“He went to the doctors who sent him for prostate blood tests which showed high levels but he just carried on working seven days a week and it wasn’t followed up.

“He didn’t hear anything through the pandemic and it got to the point where he couldn’t go to the toilet without a catheter and he must have had other symptoms.

“By the time he went to the doctors it was stage four cancer and had spread to his bones. He was working until nine months before he passed away.”

Own diagnosis

Jayne, who is now 56 and works for Shropshire Council raising awareness about services available for carers, has had her own diagnosis.

She had a melanoma on her leg but had assurances from the GP – however 12 months later it was changing and she was scratching at it.

“It didn’t look like the images you see of cancerous moles,” she said.

“One day it started bleeding in the shower so I went back to the GP, referred to see a consultant, then had a biopsy. I didn’t hear anything for six months and it became raised and itchy.

“I chased it and had another biopsy within two weeks then had an operation, they took a chunk out of my leg and found that all of the surrounding tissue was healthy – I was lucky really, I could have left it longer.”

Scheduled mammogram

When she was 52 Jayne was called for her first mammogram – she got called back about a concern on the same side of her body as the operations she’d had on her leg.

They discovered invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) cancer – abnormal cells growing in the lining of the milk ducts which change and invade breast tissue – in the early stages.

She had to have 12 biopsies until doctors were sure they had pinpointed it all – and just a few weeks later another scan led to a lumpectomy and 15 rounds of radiotherapy.

She said: “It was very early but if I hadn’t done anything about it it would have been full blown.

“Everyone at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital was lovely, I really felt like I knew what was going on, everyone was very kind and caring.

“I hear people saying they won’t go for a mammogram or smear test and I just think what are they doing, people don’t know what’s there and going on in their bodies.”

Becoming a Cancer Champion

Jayne decided to use her experiences to help others and signed up to become a Lingen Davies Cancer Champion.

She first heard about the role through her job and now proudly has the logo on her email signature.

“When I saw the Cancer Champion role advertised I felt I needed to help get the word out there,” she said.

“I just chat to people at work about it and ask people if they check their bodies, do their friends, and if not, why not.

“I share the opportunity with people, it’s just day to day conversations, and if I see an opportunity I use it.”

Find out about the Cancer Champions Project

We’ve pulled together a wide range of information and advice from different sources to help you find what you need easily.

Find out more about the work of cancer champions here