It’s Sarcoma Awareness Week this week, which is an opportunity to talk about Sarcoma and raise awareness. We caught up with an amazing person called Sophie Breakwell who shared her recent experiences with us.
In 2017, Sophie was an active young woman, 28 years old with a busy job in sales and a wedding to plan. She was diagnosed last December with Osteo Sarcoma and her life changed. “It was scary. I didn’t know what sarcoma was, I just heard the word cancer. Life came to a grinding halt.”
This is common with sarcoma. It’s not a word many people know and it’s not as rare as we think. Sophie had chemotherapy for four months to shrink the tumour before an operation by Professor Lee Jeys at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital to remove the sarcoma from Sophie’s hip completely.
“I was more excited than nervous on the morning of the operation. Professor Jeys was really relaxed which helped. There had been so many ups and downs,
I just wanted to get on with it.”
Sarcomas are uncommon cancers that can affect any part of the body, on the inside or outside, including the muscle, bone, tendons, blood vessels and fatty tissues. 15 people are diagnosed with sarcoma every day in the UK. That’s about 5300 people a year. That’s why increasing awareness is so important.
Ask as many questions as you can
Sophie has some great advice for people who have just been diagnosed,
“Ask as many questions as you can. Don’t be afraid to ask, I wish I’d asked more. My MacMillan nurse was fantastic. Dealing with a diagnosis will always be difficult but there is good information and support out there.”
It’s true, there’s a lot of useful information out there. Visit www.sarcoma.org.uk to find lots of useful information, links to support and opportunities to raise awareness of sarcoma and support people who have been diagnosed.
Sophie, with parents-in-law-to-be, Rob and Sharron
The NHS has always been there when I needed it
As the NHS celebrates its 70th birthday this year, Sophie shared what the NHS means to her,
“At the age of 5 I broke my neck and the NHS was there for me. I’ve broken my wrist and been to A&E and of course I was diagnosed with sarcoma last year, but the NHS has always been there when I needed it.”
Sophie’s parents-in-law-to-be Rob and Sharon Gretton agree,
“You hear different things in the press, but the NHS has always been there when we’ve needed them. We’ve always felt in safe hands. I’d raise a glass to another 70 years.”
Sophie will be discharged soon and is looking forward to getting back to working, walking and wedding planning - all the things that stopped abruptly when she was diagnosed. Thanks Sophie - you're a star!
Find out more about sarcoma