Chrissie’s story – how fast access to treatment, alongside integrative cancer care aided her recovery and helped get her life back on track


Noticing a lump on her breast, Chrissie aged 40, was shocked to learn that she had developed breast cancer. 

Chrissie is a university librarian, who loves music, and lives with her wife and 2 dogs. Enjoying an active lifestyle with her dogs and with no history of breast cancer, Chrissie was shocked to notice a lump on her breast one Sunday morning in October 2021. “I felt an itch on my right breast and when I touched the area, I noticed a lump. I wasn’t actively self-examining my breasts, and I feel so lucky to have found it.

Having private medical insurance through my wife’s work, I was able to access an online doctor’s appointment, a referral, and diagnostic tests within a week. The mammogram of my right breast indicated the devastating news it was likely that I had breast cancer, and a biopsy was taken to confirm that was the case. 

Knowing how important it is to act quickly on these things, I feel truly lucky that I had been able to be seen and access the care needed in just a few days.


I then quickly accessed further diagnostics at GenesisCare in Windsor, which unfortunately showed that I had stage 3 breast cancer with a tumour in both of my breasts of slightly different biology - the large tumour in my right breast was ER and HER2 positive however the much smaller tumour in my left breast was HER2 negative. 

My Consultant Ms Predolac and Consultant Oncologist, Dr Eslamian, recommended a treatment pathway of chemotherapy, a double mastectomy and lymph node clearance, followed by radiotherapy.

I commenced my treatment at GenesisCare and both my wife and I were blown away by the environment and support we were given - it felt so calm and reassuring. Our clinical nurse specialist, Elaine, really spent time with us to make sure we understood the process and felt supported.

My wife accompanied me to most of my chemotherapy appointments, and on a couple of occasions my parents came with me. We were always made to feel so welcome and  had a private suite and were always offered lunch each time we visited and that made all the difference to my family.

We became close to so many of the staff who were there for us every step of the way.

Before I started treatment, I had worries, particularly around chemotherapy and how ill I would feel. On top of my cancer treatment, GenesisCare also offered Exercise Medicine and wellbeing treatment provided by their charity partner, Penny Brohn UK. I was able to have a 12-week personalised exercise programme with their specially trained Personal Trainers in their lovely on-site gym plus regular acupuncture and reflexology sessions. These all really helped me with side effects. I found exercise helped clear the “brain fog” I was experiencing, and acupuncture helps to relieve symptoms of treatment-induced menopause that I have been going through.

These made such a difference to me mentally and physically that I’ve kept up with the exercise and with the acupuncture.  It’s strange to say, but in many ways, I’ve come out of this experience with some things that have positively impacted my life. 

I was initially worried about losing my hair, however when it began to fall out, I decided to shave everything off - it felt such a relief to not worry about it anymore. I found wearing a beanie hat and having an eyebrow pencil is what I needed to keep my own identity – it’s what worked best for me.

Having then progressed through surgery and overcoming cording in both arms, and then completing my course of radiotherapy I found that neither were as difficult as I had feared - with a relatively smooth recovery from surgery and no side effects other than some tiredness from radiotherapy.

I feel relieved to have accessed the best treatment for me and my condition, and proud of the journey I have navigated.

My advice to anyone who may be about to embark on a treatment pathway would be to not pressure yourself to know everything all at once. Certainly, at GenesisCare the chemotherapy nurses and clinical nurse specialists are always there to go through the process, answer questions and relieve any worries- just don’t think twice about utilising the help that is available.

I can’t praise everyone at GenesisCare highly enough, and if you are considering treatment, I really recommend visiting a centre and see for yourself.