Carrickfergus mum becomes Action Cancer ambassador

Janet Gaw is encouraging women to come forward for breast screening. INCT 41-750-CON
Janet Gaw is encouraging women to come forward for breast screening. INCT 41-750-CON

A Carrick woman has become an Action Cancer ambassador after experiencing the charity’s life saving breast-screening programme.

Janet Gaw, a medical receptionist, attended Action Cancer House for her first breast screening in April 2014 when she was 46 years old.

The mother of two takes up the story: “I’d always been aware that the service existed and was available to women from the age of 40 but for some reason I had never bothered to book an appointment.

“My mum at age 71 told me that she was going for a screening and encouraged me to join her so I decided it was about time I went as well.”

While her mum’s results were clear, Janet was told the mammogram had picked something up and she was referred to a clinic.

Janet, who chose Antrim Area Hospital for her follow up appointment, continues: “I saw the consultant first of all and he couldn’t feel anything and he wondered why I had come.

“Following another mammogram and biopsies however it became very obvious when tumours were located deep in my right breast.”

Janet was diagnosed with breast cancer that day and surgery followed in June.

“During the surgery a margin of tissue was removed and tested and the results came back to say that a speck of cancer had been discovered, this became a cause of concern and medical professionals debated whether Janet should have a mastectomy or not.

“I decided to go ahead,” explains Janet “get it all done and dusted before the kids get back to school.

“They were my priority in all of this, I need to be here for them and if that means having my breast completely removed so I can reduce my risk of the cancer spread, so be it. It was a no brainer.”

Janet then began a course of chemotherapy from October to January.

“In September I attended the oncologist who confirmed that I am now cancer free, to keep doing what I’m doing and stay on the Tamoxifen.

“It has been a difficult road but I feel good now and I am looking forward to getting back to routine and returning to work in January.”

She concludes: “The reality for me was that my cancer was detected quickly, and was removed. Now I tell everyone to go get screened. I believe that Action Cancer saved my life and they could save yours too.”

Screening is available at Action Cancer House in South Belfast and on board the charity’s Big Bus, supported by SuperValu and its independent retailers.

If you are aged 40 to 49 or 70+ book your free breast screening online at or by calling 028 9080 3344.