Paula Rooney

paularooneyPaula Rooney (50) from Raheny, Co Dublin, Is a supervisor in Penneys. She was diagnosed with breast cancer In 2013 and attended the breast clinic at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin. “I’d had various lumps over the years and they had always been benign so I didn’t think much of this one. I had the lump a long time – I noticed it in the September, but my dad was dying so I thought nothing of it. It was a bit different than before because my nipple was inverted, so that had me a bit worried but I still left it to go to my GP until the January. “My GP sent me for a mammogram. I went in on my own. They did a mammogram and they did a biopsy there and then. I even had gone as far as having that done before and it was benign, but I knew by the doctor that this wasn’t. “I saw Professor Hill [Lead Clinician in the Beaumont Hospital Breast Service] and he was basically able to tell me there and then that it was sinister. “[When they said cancer] I had myself dead and buried. I kept thinking of the family, of Ava, my daughter, and I just ran out of the hospital to the car park. I rang my husband, shouted something into the phone, hung up and drove home. “I went back in to get various tests done. Professor Hill came down and he said, ‘Look Paula, I’ve a 98 per cent chance that you’re going to come through this,’ and that was it. I just ran with it. I never looked back after that day. I said look, just get on with this and I’m not going to be that two per cent. Everything happened so quickly. I just wanted [the cancer] gone and I didn’t care what they took, just as long as I was still here. “I didn’t have a good awareness of breast cancer before [my diagnosis]. You don’t until it’s on your doorstep. Obviously I did check myself because I was prone to getting lumps, but I came across the lump accidentally. But that’s all I talk about now – I work with so many girls and I’m always at them, saying download the app and get yourself checked. Keep checking. “I attended Beaumont Hospital. Professor Hill – I was very lucky to have him and I had Doctor Grogan for my oncology and they were all so good. “I know I lost my hair but it didn’t bother me. I know that with some people that’s a huge thing… I was just like, ‘Well look, that’s going to grow back and I’ve got other things to worry about.’ “I would say to women: go and get checked. It’s not going to be the end of the world. Go now. It is treatable. The percentage is huge for a successful outcome. You need to do it now’ before you get yourself into the zone where there’s no coming back from it. Early detection is the best thing. This is the cancer you can spot. If you’ve cancer somewhere else in your body, it’s going to be harder to detect. This is the one you can spot yourself and you can get the help that’s required.” Originally printed in Woman’s Way* Tuesday, 4 October 2016