Jewish Health

Shelia - Interview 21

Age at interview: 59

Brief outline: Sheila was diagnosed with breast cancer ten years ago and had a lumpectomy followed by radiotherapy. Sheila had to insist to get chemotherapy as it was not initially recommended. She feels more preventative care should be offered on the NHS.

Background: Shelia is a teacher. Ethnic background/nationality: Jewish South African

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Sheila was diagnosed with breast cancer ten years ago after having a mammogram as part of an ongoing health care initiative. She had a lumpectomy and was offered radiation. Chemotherapy was not recommended because, she was told, it would increase her risk of developing leukaemia. After consulting with relatives who are in the medical profession abroad, Sheila insisted on having chemotherapy and was surprised that her consultant then said that would offer her the best chance of survival. She developed gum disease and carpal tunnel syndrome as side effects of her treatment but overall, the treatment was successful.
Sheila experienced further obstacles in trying to organise genetic testing and paid privately for a consultation and test. She was told that there was a 60% certainty that she didn’t have BRAC01 gene.

Sheila feels strongly that without the preventative screening which was offered while she studied in Israel and the follow up checks carried out privately in the UK, she would not have discovered she had cancer until it was too advanced to treat. She would like to see more preventative care offered on the NHS and feels that more money should be spent on health more generally. 


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