28 April 2022
After being diagnosed with breast cancer at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, Debbie says that Sciensus’ cancer care service helped her to feel at ease and manage her cancer treatment around her other commitments.
The last side effect Debbie expected to experience after getting her Covid vaccine was a swollen breast. Having had a clear mammogram just 18 months before, Debbie was eventually diagnosed with a 25mm tumour which was successfully removed through a lumpectomy.
“Initially put down to a side effect of the vaccine, I knew something wasn’t right when my breast swelled up right after my first dose. When it still hadn’t gone down after my second dose, I contacted my medical insurer and was quickly referred for investigation”, explains Debbie.
“The fact that it had grown to that size from nothing in just 18 months was quite a shock. Who knows what would have happened if I hadn’t had that reaction to the Covid vaccine and had found it at my next mammogram in another 18 months’ time”, Debbie continues.
Less time lost to cancer treatment
Debbie was treated at a private hospital in Cardiff, who introduced her to Sciensus’ cancer care service. Living with multiple health conditions himself, Debbie’s husband no longer drives and being treated at home meant Debbie didn’t have to rely on a small number of family and friends living nearby to take her to and from hospital.
“By the time you travel 65 miles to the hospital, wait around, have your treatment, and get back home, a whole day has gone. Having my treatment at home meant I was able to set aside the rest of the day to shower and relax in my own surroundings. I also opted to try a scalp cooling cap to save my hair – which worked really well – and I’m not sure I would have wanted to spend extra time in hospital to do that after each treatment”, says Debbie.
Sciensus’ ‘amazing’ nurses
Debbie also speaks highly of the nurses who cared for and supported her throughout her journey with Sciensus. Explaining how they helped her to feel relaxed and at ease, Debbie credits the nurses for helping her overcome her fear of needles.
“The nurses truly were amazing – I couldn’t fault a thing. I mostly saw the same three nurses throughout my treatment, and they are all such lovely people. They are so knowledgeable and full of advice and happy to chat about everything from medical questions to where I’m going to go on my first post-treatment cruise”, Debbie adds.
Balancing treatment with normal life
Aside from the clinical part of her treatment, Debbie appreciated the support of her dedicated patient liaison lead who worked directly with her insurer to give her one less thing to worry about. With her husband also having his own medical appointments to attend, Debbie also found the flexibility of Sciensus’ service made it easier for her to continue to be there for him.
“It didn’t happen too often, but occasionally one of my treatment slots would clash with one of my husband’s hospital appointments. While he was always keen to put my treatment first, I still wanted to be able to take him to his appointments and for him not to have to reschedule. Being able to move my slot from a morning to an afternoon or vice versa meant I was able to move things around occasionally which really made it easier to balance my treatment with normal life”, explains Debbie.