Never ignore the small symptoms. Ann Gilbert, a 49-year-old from the town of Walton, was convinced she had long Covid after contracting the disease last year and feeling ‘washed out’ ever since. “I’ve always been quite a bubbly and very dynamic person, and I felt a little washed out, that’s the best way to describe it,” she told the Liverpool Echo.
But three weeks after moving into a house, Ann Gilbert’s daughter spotted a lump on her mother’s right breast, just below her collarbone, as she got out of the shower. While the mum felt it was just a “little bump” not to worry about, the 24-year-old insisted she “get it checked out”.
“If you’re in the shower, check your armpits”
Ann Gilbert therefore went to the Royal Liverpool Hospital, where her mammograms and biopsy revealed that she had triple-negative breast cancer, a fast-growing form. An announcement that was greeted like a sledgehammer by the woman. “I thought this wasn’t going to happen to me. There’s no family history of breast cancer. I’ve never smoked. I’m a typical, healthy person,” a- she confided.
On the occasion of the launch of the Pink October campaign – intended to raise awareness among women about breast cancer screening and to raise funds for research – Ann Gilbert wanted to share some advice for women to avoid being diagnosed too late: “You have to know your own body. If you’re in the shower, check your armpits, feel them good”. Ann Gilbert is now due to undergo 20 weeks of chemotherapy, which began days after her 49th birthday, as well as surgery and radiation therapy. Despite everything, she assured that she was determined to keep her spirits up and not let the cancer take control. “The first thing I did was go and get my hair cut short. It was the only thing I could hold on to, you know, ‘new hair, new me,'” said Anne Gilbert.
Shower © Pexels