Breast cancer: Dr Chris on 'breakthrough' Enhertu drug
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The star, 73, who was nominated for multiple primetime emmys for her role in Charlie’s Angels, had two battles with breast cancer. Talking about her first showdown with the disease to People magazine in the 90s, she said she was “forced to face” her “own mortality”.
At the time of her first diagnosis in January 1987, Jackson had been working on the hit TV series Scarecrow and Mrs. King.
She was given the day off work because a fellow member of the cast had the flu; but rather than relax for the whole day, Jackson went for a mammogram after having a premonition that morning.
“It was out of the blue, but perfectly clear,” she recalled when talking about her premonition.
“I sat up in bed and literally said, ‘You have to have a mammogram.’”
Following her gut instinct, she went for her first ever mammogram, an X-ray picture of the breast, which revealed a small growth in her left breast.
As a result she was given a biopsy to check to see if the cells were cancerous.
“It wasn’t a lump,” she recalled.
“It wasn’t even anything that I could feel. It was microscopic.”
Despite its size, the tumour was identified as malignant by the biopsy and just four days later she had lumpectomy to remove the tumour after which she was given radiation therapy while she returned to work.
She did eventually heal from the first bout of cancer a year later, reported People magazine, and ended up starring in an American sitcom called Baby Boom in 1989.
But unfortunately, just two years after her first battle with cancer, the star discovered another clump of cancer cells in her left breast after a periodical mammogram.
She recovered from the cancer but the two diagnoses took their toll on Jackson emotionally.
She said: “The range of emotions you go through is amazing.”
“But I really made a conscious decision to be positive. When I had a negative thought, I pushed it away.”
The return of cancer after having already undergone treatment is called a recurrency, and may only be picked up after follow-up scans.
The charity Cancer Research UK points out that your breast or scar may look or feel different.
The symptoms of a recurring cancer breast cancer are:
- A small pink or red lump called a nodule on the breast or scar
- A change in shape of thee breast
- Changes in the position of the nipple
- A lump or thickening in the breast.
According to the charity, treatment for a recurrence will depend on what you had before, but it could require the removal of the entire breast, known as a mastectomy.
It may also involve radiotherapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy and targeted cancer drugs.
In 1989, Jackson was given a partial mastectomy and reconstructive plastic surgery.
Recalling the moment when she awoke from surgery, Jackson said: “The first thing I heard was good news. My lymph nodes were clean, thank goodness. I fell incredibly fortunate.”
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