23 October 2023

Julie Thomas and Deb Garbett, Breast Care Nurses

A grateful patient has shown her appreciation to the Breast Imaging team at the county’s two acute hospitals by creating beautiful handmade capes.

Sue Howarth, a patient who had undergone breast screening, visited the team at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (RSH) to personally thank them and present them with the capes, which are intended for patients to wear during their appointments.

Her decision to attend breast screening at RSH, run by The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, earlier this year was influenced by the news of Sarah Ferguson’s battle with breast cancer.

Sue said: “When I received the invitation for a mammogram on the same day that the news broke about Sarah Ferguson, it inspired me to prioritise my own health and get checked.”

Sue was one of a few women who get called back for further assessment after their initial mammogram.

“When I was called back, I was a little shocked, as I had no idea anything was wrong. The Breast Care nurses explained I would have another mammogram that day, then see the consultant, then potentially other tests. They reassured me that they would be around if I had any questions,” said Sue.

She went on to have further diagnostic mammograms and two biopsies, all under the care of the Breast team. Fortunately, Sue’s results came back negative, and she will be invited back for her next mammogram in three years.

Wanting to show her appreciation to the team who had helped her, Sue decided to make capes as a way of giving back. She said: “We are all stakeholders of the NHS, and many of us have loved ones who have been helped by our NHS heroes. Making capes is my way of showing gratitude.”

Sue has already made six capes for the team, and she recently received a generous fabric donation from ‘All Sorts of Wool & Fabric’ to continue her efforts.

Sue alongside members of the Breast Care Team

Sue added: “If you receive an invitation for your mammogram, accept it and quickly. If you are called back to attend further tests, try not to worry. Talk to a Breast Care nurse and stay positive. Be assured that the whole team are with you throughout.”

Dr Marie Metelko, Clinical Director of Radiology, said: “Out of around 100 women who attend routine breast screening, four women may be asked to attend further testing, out of these women one will have cancer.

“We would urge all ladies to attend their breast screening mammograms and to check their breasts regularly for changes. Early diagnosis plays a crucial role in improving survival rates for breast cancer.”

Hayley Flavell, Director of Nursing, said: “We would like to say thank you to Sue for the beautiful capes. These provide our patients with dignity and privacy but also allow easy access for imaging when they attend their appointment.

“We are immensely proud of our Breast Imaging team, and hearing stories like Sue’s highlights the vital role of the screening programme.”