Early diagnosis is crucial

11.45 Linlithgow, 67 Kettlestoun Mains, Alison McKenzie, breast cancer survivor, 01506 844486. Talking head shots, profile shot and kitchen shot with baked goods (she held a bake off competition to raise funds for cancer awareness)
11.45 Linlithgow, 67 Kettlestoun Mains, Alison McKenzie, breast cancer survivor, 01506 844486. Talking head shots, profile shot and kitchen shot with baked goods (she held a bake off competition to raise funds for cancer awareness)
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Linlithgow mum-of-two 
Alison McKenzie wasn’t too worried when she discovered a small lump on her breast three years ago.

After all, there was no history of breast cancer in the family and she felt fine.

But the 44-year-old decided to get it checked out with her GP just to make sure - and this proved to be a lifesaver.

Alison, of Kettilstoun Mains, turned out to have 
early stage breast cancer.

“It was completely out of the blue and a total shock,” said Alison.

“I had the lump removed, followed up by chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

“The treatment was quite gruelling but worth it and I was able to go back to work nine months later.”

Alison, who is mum to 
Alexander (16) and Susanne (11), now regularly raises funds to help find a cure.

She held a Pink Bake Off at her home last week, with a Mary Berry look-a-like (!) and raised £170 raised for Breakthrough Breast Cancer.

Around 30,000 people are diagnosed with cancer in Scotland each year, with breast, bowel and lung the most common tumour types.

For women, the most important message is to be aware of any changes to your breasts.

With an aging population, incidences of cancer are expected to increase but one way of tackling the disease is to detect more cancer in its earliest stages, when a wider range of treatment options are available.

The average survival rate for cancer has doubled over the past 30 years, so it’s not the same disease it was many years ago.

People are more aware of the signs and symptoms of cancer, and thousands of those diagnosed are now surviving cancer because it’s being detected earlier.

Participating in screening tests such as the existing breast and bowel cancer programmes remains the best way of detecting cancer at an early stage, before symptoms have a chance to develop, but getting to know your body and how it normally looks and feels is also an important part 
of your personal health routine.

See your GP if you spot any unusual or persistent changes in your body. Don’t get scared, get checked.

If you want to find out more information about cancer, contact NHS Inform on 0800 22 44 88 or visit www.nhsinform.co.uk