Locks of love

Petra Brewster, of Airdrie Place in Bispham, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in August and is going to be a case study for Eve breast cancer awareness.'Petra with her pet pig Alice, who has helped Petra cope with her illness. PIC BY ROB LOCK'14-10-2011
Petra Brewster, of Airdrie Place in Bispham, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in August and is going to be a case study for Eve breast cancer awareness.'Petra with her pet pig Alice, who has helped Petra cope with her illness. PIC BY ROB LOCK'14-10-2011
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SHE was diagnosed with breast cancer only two months ago, but mum-of-one Petra Brewster is determined to stay positive.

And the 41-year-old, from Bispham, wants some good to come out her illness and will be holding a sponsored head shave to raise funds for Cancer Research UK.

She also plans to donate the hair to charity Locks of Love, which uses donated hair to make hairpieces for children with cancer.

It’s been a whirlwind eight weeks for Petra, who first went to her GP after noticing a change in her nipple.

She said: “I lifted my arm right up and noticed the side of my breast and nipple had sort of gone in, like a half moon shape.

“I thought this looked odd, so went to the doctor, who referred me to the Rose Clinic, at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, where they were fantastic.

“I had all the tests on the Tuesday and went back on the Friday for my results. All the staff were just lovely. Waiting only a few days for results is really good, because it’s the not knowing which makes it harder. Everyone around me seemed to be thinking worst-case scenario, but I wasn’t. I kept thinking it would turn out to be nothing.

“Even when they took a biopsy and told me it was breast cancer, I still couldn’t quite believe it. Part of me kept thinking it was a mistake.”

After her biopsy, Petra was given the option of chemotherapy to try to shrink the tumour, before a lumpectomy, but she opted for a mastectomy.

She said: “I wanted to make sure it had gone, I wanted to get rid of it. It was grade two, so a bit scary. But the mastectomy didn’t bother me.

“I have to start chemotherapy, and that does worry me, I am worried about losing my hair.

“But I have already cut my hair shorter in stages. It was shoulder length, and am planning to do a sponsored head shave.

“I hope to raise money for Cancer Research UK and donate my hair to Locks of Love, so that at least something positive can come out of this.”

Petra is also considering getting a pink ribbon tattoo – the symbol for breast cancer support – when she is well enough.

She said: “Staff at the hospital have been wonderful. They made me feel completely comfortable. It’s a lovely department – it’s like a hotel – and I have been impressed with my treatment.

“My breast cancer nurse, Lorraine Jones, has been great. My family and friends have been such great support too. My husband Roger and my son Adam, 17, have been brilliant.

“And I have my animals – I have dogs, cats and a pet pig, Alice, who is just wonderful.

“It is early days yet, and I am sure I will have days when I wonder why this has happened to me, but I am determined to try to stay positive.”