Northern Ireland breast cancer units facing axe must be saved, says survivor
A Co Armagh mum who was diagnosed with breast cancer says she would not be alive today without the dedicated staff at Craigavon Area Hospital's cancer assessment centre, which is now facing closure.
Jane Treanor (39) is among tens of thousands of people fighting to save two local breast cancer assessment centres.
In March the Department of Health launched a public consultation on cutting the services at Craigavon and Belfast City Hospital.
Under the proposals, the number of breast cancer assessment centres here could be reduced to three from five, meaning patients will have to travel further to be seen at clinics in the Altnagelvin, Antrim and the Ulster Hospitals.
Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride has said such a model is in the best interests of the public going forward.
The battle to keep the clinics at Craigavon and Belfast City open has been led by breast cancer charity Knitted Knockers of Northern Ireland. Several public meetings in protest at the plan have taken place over recent weeks.
To date more than 40,000 people have signed a petition calling on the Government to save the clinics.
Jane was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer in January 2018 and is only too aware of the vital role staff at the Glenanne Unit in Craigavon played in her diagnosis and treatment.
"I thought the lump was a cyst so the diagnosis was a huge shock since I'm young, fit and healthy," she said. "The staff were absolutely amazing and I call them my angels.
"As far as I'm concerned, they saved my life.
"I never felt afraid once and I knew I wasn't going to die - that's how much I trusted them."
Jane, who is married to Gavin (40) and mum to Noah (14) and 11-year-old Jude, underwent a mastectomy, chemotherapy and is now on hormone treatment for the next few years.
"At the Glenanne they operate a one-stop unit, with mammograms, biopsies and consultant appointments all done in the same place," she added.
"When I first heard that they were planning to shut the unit, I actually broke down and cried.
"There is no reasoning behind it when you have such an amazing team catering for so many people.
"If I had had to travel to Antrim or Derry it would have been a nightmare in terms of transport and childcare costs.
"The thought of it would nearly make me not want to go, and if that had been the case, I would not be here today."