Mohammad - Interview 133

Age at interview: 45
Age at diagnosis: 40
Brief Outline: Diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006, after he noticed some itchiness in his nipple which later started to bleed. Had a mastectomy and was relieved that he did not need chemotherapy or radiotherapy. He took tamoxifen for five years. He had some problems with lymphoedema after his surgery.
Background: Mohammad was a machine operator in the plastics industry. He is currently unable to work due to illness. He is married and has 4 children. Ethnic Background: Pakistani.

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In 2006 Mohammad noticed some itchiness and them some bleeding from his nipple which he at first ignored. After finding quite a big blood stain on his vest one day, he went to see his GP who prescribed an antibiotic for him. After a week the bleeding continued and the doctor then suggested that he went for a biopsy which showed that he had breast cancer. He had a mastectomy within 3 weeks.
He felt that the doctors and nurses had been very kind towards him and he was happy with the treatment he had received. He had told his close family and some friends about his illness but he preferred not to tell other people because he thought that would make him feel more stressed. He did not tell his teenage daughters about his illness at first because he didn’t want to worry them. He does not feel that he needs any more support beyond the support that he has got from close family.
Mohammad had had a difficult time in the past dealing with a back problem and he compared his experiences of having cancer with the restrictions that his back trouble had placed on his life. He had had some counselling when his back pain was very painful and stressful and he had found this helpful. When he had his back problem he did go on the internet to look for information, but he found that the information made him more stressed.
He was on his own when he received the news of his diagnosis and initially he was very shocked. The hospital gave him a lot of information and after a few minutes he felt much calmer. When he was taking his tamoxifen he didn’t want to know too much about possible side effects because too much information can make you more worried. He was the first person in his family to be diagnosed with breast cancer. A nurse came to visit him and told him not to worry, that his cancer was treatable and curable. He has a strong belief, reinforced by his strong religious beliefs, that he should take his illness ‘lightly’. He had felt comforted by the words of Allah in the Qu’ran which reinforced his view that no-one would die before ‘their time’.



Mohammad had been taking tamoxifen for his breast cancer for nearly 5 years and was expecting to...

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Mohammad had been taking tamoxifen for his breast cancer for nearly 5 years and was expecting to...


And now you’re also, the last five years is it, that you’ve been taking tamoxifen?

Yes, tamoxifen regular.
And do you know how long you’ll have to take the tamoxifen?
I might be they finish next year. Because they told me for the five years, if I need it then they can… their advice they might be finished in five years. 
They started five years in December 2006. So in December this time… when I go to see my surgeon in April, they might be stopped or keep carrying on.
Do you have any preference, would you like to stop taking it or carry on, or it depends on what they advise?
It depends on their advice. Thing is I’m not, stopped or not taking a lot. If he asked me keep carry on then I carry on. If he stopped it then I stopped it. Because I’m not the doctor, he’s the doctor, he knows better than me. 
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