A mum’s life was saved by a cup of tea after she discovered a tumour when she reached for her evening brew.
Nicola Fairbrass decided to take a cuppa to bed with her in November last year, but as she turned around to grab it from her bedside table, she felt a lump in her left breast.
The married mum-of-one went to her doctor two weeks later and in December last year the 44-year-old was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer.
Luckily, after a year of intensive treatment dog sitter Nicola, from Oakwood, Derby, is now cancer free – and credits the cup of tea with saving her life.
Nicola, who drinks five cups day said: "We take a cup of tea to bed most nights – tea is my preference.
"That night I turned around to get my cup of tea from the bedside table but as I was pulling it towards me, I felt a lump in my left breast.
"I left it for about two weeks, thinking it might just be a cyst or something else.
"But then it became bigger again, and when I went to the doctor they referred me straight to the hospital.
"I love tea and I think, in a way, it saved my life."
Nicola, who had just taken over a brand new dog-sitting business, had a mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy before she was diagnosed.
While initially she was told she would need a mastectomy, her doctor suggested she tried chemotherapy first.
Nicola underwent a lymph node surgery in January this year to make sure the cancer wasn’t spreading, and then needed eight rounds of gruelling chemotherapy for six months.
But luckily the treatment worked, and the lump was reduced in size from 43 millimetres to 17 millimetres.
In August this year, Nicola had a lumpectomy and 20 sessions of radiotherapy to kill any cancerous cells which might have been left.
Two weeks later, in September, she was declared cancer free although she must take medication for the next five to 10 years.
Nichola said she couldn’t have made it without the support of her daughter Gabrielle, 19 and her husband Paul, 50.
She said: "Waiting for the results was the worst, it was horrendous.
"I tried to carry on as best as I could because it was holiday time.
"My daughter was affected, she had a really hard time – but she kept being strong for me.
"My husband had to take time off work to help at home because I was basically housebound.
"But I can’t moan, everyone around me has been very supportive.
"It has been a huge relief to get the ‘all clear’ and finish treatment and just be able to get on with my life again, as my life was just on hold for the past year.
"It has been a very tough year, but I am glad it is over."
During her illness, Nicola had to assign her dog-sitting business, Barking Mad, to someone else, but is now excited to get back to doing what she loves.
She added: "My advice if you feel a lump would be get straight to the doctors, don’t delay.
"I don’t think people check themselves enough, so I want to raise awareness."
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