Mother of three sentenced to ‘death sentence’ after random phone call in bathroom, leading to diagnosis

Debbie Layfield was about to run a bath at her home in Claughton, Wirral, when she took a call from a family member who had found a bump

Debbie Layfield was about to run a bath when she got a call

A Tesco worker felt she had been sentenced to death after finding a pea-sized bump on her chest in the bathroom.

Debbie Layfield was about to run a bath at her home in Claughton, wirralwhile answering a call from a family member who had found a lump.

The mother-of-three tried to reassure her family member that the lump was unlikely to be cause for concern, but as she climbed into the bathroom moments later, she was shocked to find a lump on her own breast.

Debbie, whose youngest child was in primary school at the time, went to her GP after the random call and was immediately referred to Clatterbridge Cancer Centre.

The 44-year-old underwent a series of tests and just hours later she was told she had breast cancer.

The 44-year-old was diagnosed with breast cancer

Meanwhile, Debbie’s family member was told she had a benign lump. Debbie said she was in complete disbelief after receiving her diagnosis and was struggling to speak.

In the audio recording for Cancer Research UK, she said: “My first thoughts when the doctor told me I will not see my children grow up, get married or have children or have their own.”

Debbie said she was eventually able to explain to her children that she had the same condition that Kylie Minogue had been successfully treated for and reassured everyone she would be fine. She had a lumpectomy and her doctors were glad the cancer hadn’t spread.

However, they warned her that she had a very aggressive form of the disease and planned to give her additional doses of chemotherapy. After undergoing daily radiation therapy while still finishing chemotherapy, Debbie faced another devastating blow when her father was diagnosed with lung cancer and died months later.

Fortunately, Debbie made a successful recovery from her cancer treatment in 2009 and took the drug tamoxifen for 10 years. Cancer Research UK researchers helped demonstrate the benefits of taking tamoxifen after surgery for women with the most common type of breast cancer.

Fortunately, Debbie made a successful recovery from her cancer treatment in 2009

About 8 in 10 women are now surviving at least 10 years, thanks in part to this life-saving treatment. Debbie initially struggled to talk about her cancer after completing treatment, but later decided to become involved in raising awareness and encouraging donations to Cancer Research UK.

The mother of three, now 57, is a community champion at Tesco Bidston Moss and has encouraged hundreds of customers and colleagues to sign up and fundraise for Race for Life over the years. She knows exactly how important it is to raise funds for life-saving research – and that’s why she encourages people to visit her and enter.

Debbie is such a passionate supporter of Race for Life that she was selected as a VIP guest at the Wirral event on Sunday 22nd May. She will sound the starting horn at Birkenhead Park before joining the contestants and she will also compete at Sefton Park on Sunday 10th July.

Debbie said: “I am delighted with the work of Cancer Research UK who have lost so many loved ones to the disease. But I see the progress that has been made in research and even if each person donates a pound to someone taking part in Race for Life then we are one step closer to allowing more people to survive.

“I hope my story will help connect with people in the moments before they embark on the Race for Life course. It is a privilege to have the opportunity, through audio recording at Race for Life events, to thank the amazing people who are raising funds to support life-saving research.”

Debbie’s powerful story is one of six audio recordings from cancer survivors to be played at Race for Life events across the UK this year. Approximately 44,900 people are diagnosed with cancer each year in the US North West, and one in two people born after 1960 in the UK will develop cancer in their lifetime.

Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, in partnership with Tesco, is an inspirational series of 3k, 5k, 10k, Pretty Muddy and Pretty Muddy Kids events raising millions of pounds each year to help by funding crucial research contribute to the fight against cancer. Events will follow current government guidelines to protect against COVID-19 and hand sanitiser will be provided.

Cancer Research UK North West spokeswoman Jane Bullock said: “We are incredibly grateful to Debbie for her support and know that her story will have an impact on those taking part when it is played on stage at the start of the Race for Life.

“Unfortunately, cancer affects us all in some way. Whether people live with cancer, attend in honor or in memory of a loved one with cancer, or register to protect the future of their own children, everyone has a reason for the Race for Life. So we’re asking people across the region, “Who are you going to race for?”

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