Barbara O’Reilly Hyland

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Twenty-two years ago Barbara O’Reilly Hyland felt a lump in her left breast. She went to her GP who told her that “it was of no importance”. I was delighted and got on with my life. Two years later, my husband commented on the size of the lump, so I went to the Well Woman Clinic and was told to get a mammogram immediately. I had a mastectomy, then chemotherapy and reconstruction. Being diagnosed with breast cancer is not news any woman ever wants to hear and was traumatic, especially as the only people I had known who had breast cancer were since deceased. The loving support of her husband and family, combined with having a small child to raise, emboldened Barbara to constantly look to the positives. This made a major difference in her approach to the challenge she was presented with. “The level of information and support from the wider cancer care community and my medical team, in particular, gave me huge confidence that cancer treatment has made gigantic strides in successful treatment rates over recent years.” Barbara still goes regularly for scheduled check-ups and is very much impressed by how treatment and early detection rates have improved even during the twenty years since she herself became directly affected. “These improvements are largely due to the amazing work being done in breast cancer research, and the future is getting brighter all the time. I still don’t understand why I got breast cancer, as it wasn’t in my family, I am a non-smoker, I was slim, fit, living a healthy lifestyle, eating organic food whenever possible. Nowadays, treatment is tailor-made for the individual and has never been as effective, all thanks to research.” Barbara is “thrilled and humbled” to be an ambassador for Breast Cancer Ireland. Hopefully, she adds, “women who have been diagnosed will take a bit of comfort from seeing others living a long healthy life after their treatments. I would encourage everyone to help raise money for this amazing charity.”