Woman whose breast reduction operation saved her life

Angela Martinelli, whose breast reduction operation revealed cancer that screening missed

Angela Martinelli, whose breast reduction operation revealed cancer that screening missed

A breast reduction operation saved a mother of four’s life after it revealed cancer missed by a routine screening only a few weeks earlier. Angela Martinelli, 54, chose surgery because her 34J chest had given her years of painful backache. But when surgeons removed her excess tissue they found breast cancer deep inside. They told her that the earlier mammogram had failed to pick up the disease because her breasts were so large. It was only thanks to the discovery that she was able to have life-saving treatment to beat the disease.


Mrs Martinelli, a buyer’s assistant from Ormskirk, Lancashire, said: ‘I would have been due for another routine mammogram in three years’ time, so if I hadn’t had my operation, the cancer would have been allowed to spread. Even though it was devastating to be diagnosed with cancer and I broke down in tears when the surgeon broke the news to me, afterwards it was such a relief that it had actually been found.’

Surgeons reduced her breasts to a size 36E cup and sent the removed tissue away for routine examination. But a week later they broke the devastating news that this had revealed cancer.

‘I just couldn’t take in what the surgeon was saying,’ Mrs Martinelli said. ‘I’d only just passed a mammogram – now I was being told that I had breast cancer.’

She had another operation to remove more cancerous tissue from her left breast, before five weeks of radiotherapy treatment to try to kill any remaining cancer cells.

‘The surgeon took out my lymph nodes and luckily they were all clear, which meant the cancer hadn’t started to spread,’ she said. Luckily I didn’t have to have any chemotherapy treatment.’

She was then given a five- year course of tamoxifen, and doctors expect to finally give her the all clear in five months. Mrs Martinelli said: ‘Having the breast reduction operation was the best decision I have ever made. I had been so excited about having the operation – I had wanted it done for years and had really thought it was going to change my life. For the first time I feel like a normal woman. I can put my arms down at my sides when I’m in the seat at a theatre and I can actually reach over my chest to paint my toenails. But best of all it allowed the doctors to find my breast cancer in time – so it has also saved my life.’

Source: Daily Mail