Pub girls strip off for naked charity calendar
The Calendar Girls strip off at The White Horse. Elaine Greenhalgh is pictured fourth from left, front row
A WOMAN who survived cancer has spoken out about losing a breast to the disease after stripping off for a charity calendar.
But rather than wallow in self pity, the brave mother says: “there is life after a mastectomy.”
Elaine Greenhalgh, from Kearsley, found a lump on her right breast in May last year whilst she was showering — and went straight to her GP.
After two biopsies, a mammogram and an MRI at Royal Bolton breast clinic, Mrs Greenhalgh was given the devastating news she had breast cancer.
With the help of her two daughters, Stacey, aged 34, and Faye, aged 32, husband Kevin, aged 54, she has remained positive throughout the operation, despite losing her right breast.
She now wants her story inspire and help women — and men — gain the courage to get checked out if they think they feel a lump.
She even stripped off for a Calendar Girls-esque photo shoot for Breast Cancer Research.
Mrs Greenhalgh, aged 53, said: “I want people to know that there is life after a mastectomy. That’s why I got involved with the naked calendar despite hating having my photo taken. It’s strange — I’ll happily get my kit off but I’m not too happy having a camera in my face.
“I think I’m just a little apprehensive about some people who might not appreciate the photos now I’ve had my operation. But people should take me as I am.”
After noticing the lump, Mrs Greenhalgh had her worries confirmed after tests at the breast clinic at Royal Bolton Hospital.
She said: “I knew that something was wrong but I certainly didn’t straight away think it was cancer — there is no history of the disease in the family.
“They didn’t confirm I had it until after I’d had a further biopsy and MRI scan. They thought they would be able to do a lumpectomy but it was a lot bigger than they first thought.
“My daughters came with me to the meeting. When they told me it was breast cancer I just thought, ‘let’s get the operation done’.”
Within a month Mrs Greenhalgh was in surgery. She said: “I think everybody was quite shocked that I was so positive. But I just wanted to get rid of the cancer — that was my main worry, not losing a breast. I had the operation on June 19. It was done very quickly. I was nervous but everyone is when they have an op. I couldn’t believe how quickly it was all over and I was out the next day.
“I was going to have reconstruction work done but I have high blood pressure and I would have had to stay longer on the operating table, which can be a risk. But I can have it in the future if I decide I want it.”
Mrs Greenhalgh believes that a positive attitude is vitally important in the fight against cancer — as is early detection.
She said: “My friends and familyknow I have a positive attitude to life and they have been positive with me. I’ve not let anybody feel sorry for me. My cancer was caught quickly because I went to the doctors as soon as I found the lump — that’s what people need to do. I urge anyone who thinks they have felt a lump to get it checked out.
“I now have a mammogram every 12 months to make sure that everything is fine, and if not I’ll deal with it then.
“I just hope that by sharing my story I will help others and encourage them to check themselves regularly — and if they do find a lump, to go to their doctors. Women or men should never be afraid to check themselves. Go and get it sorted as soon as you can and get on with your life.”
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