A mum and daughter who were diagnosed with breast cancer on the same day have spoken of how the NHS had never 'seen anything like it before' as they underwent treatment at the same time, and recuperated in adjoining wards.
Diane Leach and Karen Williams both found lumps in their right breasts on February 5, 2012. By coincidence, their subsequent mammogram appointments were at the same time at the same Cheshire hospital.
When they were both given the devastating news that they had cancer, they embarked on their journey towards recovery together.
On February 20 they both arrived at the Countess of Chester Hospital in Cheshire for their operations, performed by the same surgeon. As they recovered from the surgery, they were placed in adjoining wards where they could knock on the wall to each other.
Speaking to the Express, mum-of-four Karen, 41, said it was a very strange set of circumstances for the rest of their family.
"It was a crazy situation," she said. "My two sisters and dad didn't know who to visit first. On the day of the operations the consultant at the hospital couldn't believe that we had been diagnosed on the same day and would be undergoing surgery on the same day too.
She said that in 40 years in the NHS she had never seen anything like it before.
Karen said that when she and her partner Stuart first told her mum, they were in for a double shock.
"Amazingly she said she had just found one as well," said Karen. "I thought she was joking but I went to my GP and mum went to hers. I went for a mammogram a few days later and discovered that mum was doing the same when Stuart spotted her while we were in the queue."
Her mum Diane, 65, had a mastectomy at the Countess of Chester Hospital while Karen had surgery to remove a tumour from her right breast, tissue from the left and a breast reduction operation.
Karen said that is was just 'bad 'luck' that she and her mum were diagnosed at the same time.
The two women are now fund raising for the cancer charity Macmillan.
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The Glass Half Full: A breast cancer blog