Happy March everyone! Finally a step closer towards spring and the milder weather, which I can't wait for!
It was this step closer to warmer weather that made me think more about the long term effects of my cancer and its treatment. The chemotherapy I had made my skin more sensitive to the sun, so I spent last summer covered in SPF 50 even in the weaker British sun. However, I'm going on holiday in April (I can't wait!) and I've had to think about sun exposure much more than I would have done before. I also had radiotherapy to my neck and chest, and these areas should be exposed to as little sun as possible, so I'm taking sun tops for swimming in, as well as my trusty SPF 50.
The radiotherapy I had also means I will need a blood thyroid test every year for the rest of my life, as radiotherapy to the chest causes around 80% of patients thyroid glands to become under active and around 10% to become overactive. I've been told that this can be easily managed with medication if this happens.
I will also be entered into the breast cancer screening programme earlier than usual. Currently, all women aged 50-70 are invited for breast screening, although it varies slightly by county, but this is being extended to 47-73 by the end of this year. I will be entered into the programme when I'm 30, plus or minus a few years depending on where I'm living when I near that age. This is because the radiotherapy has put me at a slightly increased risk of developing breast cancer.
All that being said, this seems like nothing compared to other cancers and their treatments. I still have my eyesight, my hearing and my mobility; and for that I am grateful.