Marcia's Story

Marcia's story

- Breast cancer

Marcia Willetts, 46, from Birmingham, was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2022 and started months of treatment.  

“In June 2021, I noticed a lump in my right breast while showering. I mentioned it to my sister-in-law who said I should get it checked out, and I went to see my GP.”

Marcia said the diagnosis was a real shock. It came shortly after she and her husband Ben had just found their dream house and had moved in with their two dogs.  

“The doctor said it might be hormonal and that I should return again after my next period but it was a few months until I did go back.

“It was in the back of my mind but I had been busy, and I had noticed the lump seemed to shrink sometimes too. But I was keen to have peace of mind, so I phoned the doctors the next day and was referred to the clinic and then for a mammogram and ultrasound. 

“Initially I wasn’t too worried as I thought it was going to come back clear as I never really thought I would get breast cancer. 

“When they did the biopsy I was petrified and then when it was time for the results I went with my husband and my mum turned up too, and I am really glad that she did.  

“I felt very calm going into the meeting but when it was confirmed, I burst out crying. I asked what was next and I zoned out. My husband and my mum were there too and they listened for me, but I couldn’t take it in.”


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Marcia had a lumpectomy in March.

“I was worried about the surgery but it was amazing, it was so neat and I really appreciated what the surgeon did.   

“They also took three lymph nodes and found it had not spread and I had BRCA tests which came back negative too.

“After the surgery, I had two weeks off work and then was back. I am a hairdresser and I had been due to be off for three but I wanted to get working again.  

“I started chemotherapy in May. I have been really poorly with an infection and I have found that really tough – it is so exhausting.

“I got angry at one point too – that is not me as I am usually very easy-going, but I couldn’t help it. I hate sympathy and I am best when I am back at work and getting on.”

After chemotherapy finished, Marcia started radiotherapy. She’s been updating friends and family on social media about how she’s getting on and has built a community.  

“I have been putting updates on my Facebook, I wasn’t planning to be so public but it just sort of happened. I have had so many people responding and asking questions that it is raising lots of awareness and it has created a network.  

“I might not post if I am feeling poorly but then I will be back and it does help to have this support.  

“I do fear it coming back, especially when the news is on with something like about Olivia Newton-John – I didn’t need that. I don’t want to die. 

“Being diagnosed with cancer was my worst fear. It still feels like it’s happening to someone else not to me. I wake up in the morning and it hits you again. It’s real, it’s not a dream.

“It’s only when you have something like this, you realise how much you love life. I want to live.”  

“It’s only when you have something like this, you realise how much you love life. I want to live.” - Marcia 

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