A PRESTWICH breast cancer survivor has raised over £7,000 for charity after organising a sponsored dog walk through Heaton Park.

Francine Goldman, 57, was diagnosed with breast cancer last year, after her initial mammogram had been delayed due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

She has since had several operations and a mastectomy, and is now thankfully cancer-free, but is urging other women whose check ups may have been delayed to come forward and get checked before it’s too late.

"I was supposed to have a routine mammogram in March last year but got a letter saying they would have to put it back," said Francine, who owns a travel agency. "I didn't think anything of it but five months later when I back the results came back and they comfirmed they had seen something.

"They told me they thought I had Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and when the biopsies came back it revealed I had cancer in several areas of my left breast."

Francine's condition was confirmed to be breast cancer and she was told this in a room by a surgeon alone, as her husband could not be with her, as per Covid guidelines.

"He was parked outside for over an hour while I got told I had cancer," she said. "That was the worst part of it. I was very scared and my first thought was 'will I live?' But the NHS were unbelievable and the nurses at Royal Bolton Hospital were fantastic."

Francine agreed to reconstruction surgery privately, which was carried out by Lester Barr, consultant breast surgeon and founder and chairman of the Prevent Breast Cancer charity.

While waiting for her surgery date, Francine, a mother of two, was advised to go for tests to see if she was a carrier of the BRCA gene, which would mean cancer could potentially be passed down to her children, and future generations. However, test results confirmed she did not carry the gene.

In November she had a therapeutic mammoplasty, which included having her breasts reduced and reconstructed.

A week later, she was told she did not have invasive cancer, but needed to have a mastectomy, as there were pre-cancerous cells present, which could turn into cancer further down the line if left untreated.

"I have a lovely dog called Teddy and he walked him every day," said Francine. "He was a very calming influence throughout this time and I knew I had to do something to divert my mind from being in a spiral of thinking about what might happen.

"I was walking through the park one day and I met an old friend and we decided to do a sponsored dog walk. We decided we wanted it to be all women and 16 of us set ourselves a target of raising £100 for Prevent Breast Cancer and the support I got was phenomenal."

The five km sponsored dog walk in Heaton Park raised £7,000, completely smashing Francine's original target.

"I was completely buzzing," added Francine. "It wasn't like I forgot about the cancer but it took over and there was so much positivity around me it really helped me through the journey.

"I've heard about women who have not gone for mammograms and the cancer has become really invasive so I would really urge people to act early and if you find anything get it checked out.

"My one piece of advice to anyone who may be afraid to come forward is to act before it’s too late. Cancer can spread fast, but if you get it checked early, it can save your life."


For more information go to: preventbreastcancer.org.uk