Irish woman (30) discovers she has breast cancer after watching episode of The Only Way is Essex
A Donegal woman has credited The Only Way Is Essex for saving her life, after she discovered she had a lump on her right breast during an episode of the reality television show.
Orla Maguire (30) was on her couch watching a breast cancer awareness episode of the ITV show, in which the characters were talking about checking their breasts, when she decided to give herself a check before bed.
"I was at home watching an episode of TOWIE and the characters were talking about breast cancer and how important it is to check your breasts," said Orla, speaking to Independent.ie.
"After the episode I checked myself and I found a little lump on my right breast. It was one of those moments when the blood drains from your face and you think 'Oh what could that be'. The next morning I told my mum about it, and she could feel it as well so I booked an appointment with my GP, who said it would probably nothing to worry about, but nevertheless, referred me on to Letterkenny Hospital."
Although breast cancer is quite uncommon in women of Orla's age, doctors in Letterkenny Hospital decided to biopsy the lump to rule out the diagnosis. Orla was told she would receive the results in a fortnight, but not even a week later the beauty therapist was called back into the hospital, where she received life-changing news.
"My mum came in with me and alarm bells began to ring when the head surgeon called me into his office when everyone else in the waiting room seemed to be called into the breast nurse.
"Unfortunately, he sat me and my mum down and he told me I had breast cancer, Triple Negative Ductal Carinoma, which is a tumuor that that grows quite rapidly. He was shocked himself, because of my age. I heard him say the first few sentences, but after that everything kind of went blank and although his mouth was moving I wasn't taking anything in.
"My nerves were everywhere, my mum and I were crying, then laughing, then crying again. We doing our best to try and call my brothers and my dad, just to let them know the news," she said.
Orla is now undergoing chemotherapy in Sligo General Hospital to treat the tumour, but as the cancer had not spread to her lymph nodes her prognosis is very positive.
The TOWIE fan says the situation could have been a lot bleaker, had she not tuned into the programme that evening.
"I put my hands up, I love TOWIE and I watch it all the time. But this episode in particular was so important because so many young women watch it. My tumour is so fast growing that if I hadn't caught it when I did it may have been much worse, it may have spread through my lymph nodes. I would check myself regularly anyway, but thank God I was reminded to that night," she said.
The 30-year-old has had to put work on hold as she undergoes treatment, but has begun to put her energy into her Facebook page 'My Right Tata', which she hopes will raise breast cancer awareness among younger women.
"The main reason we set up the page was to raise awareness with younger women. It's not normal for women in their twenties and thirties to get breast cancer, but it is possible and it's important to be aware of your body and your breasts.
"If it encourages even five people remember to check themselves and realise this can happen to you, even if you're a young women, then I will be delighted," she said.