BREAST cancer sufferers in Bolton are getting support from a very special woman -- a breast cancer survivor in her late sixties.

To members of the Bolton Breast Cancer Support Group, it's the friendship on offer that's just as important as the help available.

Women are also given access to medical and health information which can ease their difficult journey and sometimes put their minds at rest.

"It can be very easy to feel isolated once you have been diagnosed with breast cancer," said Cath Boardman, chairperson of the Bolton Breast Cancer Support Group which meets on the third Wednesday of every month at Lever Chambers, Ashburner Street, in the town centre.

Cath, from Randolph Road, Kearsley, is a recovered "veteran" of the disease and a mainstay of the group.

She said: "I don't feel as old as I am and I don't think anybody else realises. People say: 'You do too much' but my mind is always thinking 'what can I do next?'"

Cath was diagnosed with cancer in 1980 and was one of the first women in the North-west to have a breast implant.

She said: "The support group was started by Mary Toomey in 1986 and she was a nurse.

"It has gone on with changing membership ever since and we fund-raise for charities like the Bolton Busting Breast Cancer Appeal.

"We also have a bit of fun with guest speakers as well as getting doctors and nurses along so that we can find out more about breast cancer.

"It can often be the case that when sufferers come away from hospital or the doctor's, they have not asked the questions they should have.

"When they later take medication, they wonder why certain things are happening to them."

Denise Morgan of the Bolton Busting Breast Cancer Appeal was a guest speaker at the group last week.

She said: "I was inundated with questions -- and was surprised to learn that women felt that their questions and fears while suffering from breast cancer had not always been addressed.

"I met the members individually and addressed them as a group and I was touched and overwhelmed by both their strong presence as a group and their courage. I have addressed many groups before, but this really was a humbling experience.

"The support they give to each other and the support they get from the Bolton Breast Unit makes a real difference to how they are able to deal with breast cancer"

The group lost one of its members to cancer in February and it caused great hurt.

Cath said: "Unfortunately, this happens from time to time. But we stress to our membership that they should stay in touch even if they do not come to meetings so that they do not feel isolated.

"Any women who would like to know more about the group should contact me on 01204-706127."

A diary of events is available at the hospital.