Cathy Hoyle from Naseby is one of eight inspirational women chosen to front a new national breast cancer awareness campaign.
Cathy, 50, is a member of the Boob Crew who are on a mission to encourage more women to self-check.
The campaign, created by county-based beauty firm Avon and breast cancer charity CoppaFeel!, features the women’s own experiences with cancer, with the aim of reaching five million women across the UK about the signs and symptoms of breast cancer.
Cathy admits she didn’t check herself regularly but noticed a lump when she was in the shower one day.
She said: “Once I spoke to the doctor, I got referred to hospital the next day where before I knew it, it was confirmed that I had grade three breast cancer.
“My surgery went ahead, meaning the cancer was removed from my body, and I thought that was it.
“Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be.
“Over the course of three weeks, the cancer had grown from 11mm to 28mm and spread to my lymph node.”
Cathy underwent radiotherapy and chemotherapy, which triggered the menopause, and she had all of the lymph nodes under her right arm removed to stop the cancer spreading.
Her ovaries were also closed down completely to ensure the cancer-inducing hormones do not return.
Cathy said: “In January 2017, I had my first annual mammogram and had the all clear - incredible news!
“My advice is to check yourself regularly and if you do find something unusual don’t ignore it, get it seen to immediately as it can literally be critical.
“I want people to feel empowered to act as quickly as I did.
“If I hadn’t, and with the speed at which my cancer grew during the three weeks from initial examination to removal, I don’t know what the outcome would have been.”
The launch of the Boob Crew campaign marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among women in the UK, with one in eight women diagnosed with the disease each year, yet less than a third of women check their breasts on a regular basis.
Sandra Smith from CoppaFeel’s medical advisory group said: “At CoppaFeel!, we encourage people that it’s not about looking for cancer, but to be aware of the signs and symptoms and know their normal.
“Then, if something doesn’t feel right they have the confidence to get checked out and seek medical advice.”
For more information visit www.coppafeel.org/avon/getting-to-know-your-boobs/.