‘Gym hater’ claims workout ‘saved her life’ – after discovering cancerous lump in breast and is now URGING women to get checked 

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  • Sarah Bailey, 35, of Brooklands, Greater Manchester, claims the gym saved her life
  • She found a golf ball-sized lump in her animal during a lift lifting workout
  • The hospital diagnosed her with DCIS and HER-2-positive breast cancer
  • A grueling six-hour operation removed a mass 10 cm long

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A self-proclaimed ‘Jim Hater’ claims his life was saved after he discovered a lump in his breast that turned into cancer – with doctors ‘refusing’ him and telling him to ‘stop coming back’ in spite of.

Sarah Bailey of Brooklands, Greater Manchester, was lifting weights in late November 2020 when she suddenly suffered shooting pains in her right breast.

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Crying in pain, the 35-year-old put on weight and then felt her breast and was horrified to discover a lump the size of a golf ball.

The personal injury specialist told boyfriend Leon Jeffrey, 38, of his discovery, and then ran off the gym floor in his car.

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After two visits to her GP and a hospital breast care center, Sarah was diagnosed with DCIS and HER-2-positive breast cancer.

After completing her last session of chemotherapy at the end of November, Sarah is sharing her ordeal urging people to check themselves regularly and seek medical help if they experience unusual symptoms.

During chemotherapy, her hair started falling out and she started wearing wigs

Left: Sarah had pre-surgery at her local gym, where she found a cancerous lump in her breast. Right: During a chemotherapy session, she started wearing a wig to hide the fact that she was losing her hair

Sarah discovered while working out at the gym to get a golf ball-sized lump out of her breast on the day of her surgery

Sarah discovered while working out at the gym to get a golf ball-sized lump out of her breast on the day of her surgery

Sarah said: ‘Going to that gym session saved my life.

‘I hate the gym, it’s really ironic, but I’m scared to think if I leave it alone. It’s not worth thinking about.

‘I was doing a [chest-supported] Lateral pull-down – an exercise in which you have to bend on your chest.

‘I felt this terrible shooting pain in my right breast as I went to take the weights.

What is Her-2-positive breast cancer?

Some breast cancers have too much protein (receptor) on the surface of their cells called HER2 (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2).

This is called HER2 positive breast cancer. The extra HER2 protein encourages cancer cells to divide and grow.

Between 15 and 20 out of every 100 women with breast cancer (15 to 20%) have HER2-positive cancer. Specific targeted therapy drugs are used to treat HER2-positive breast cancer.

They lock on to the HER2 protein and stop cells from dividing and growing. (Info from Macmillan Cancer Support)

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‘I put on weight and I must have made noise. Jim was dead, no one was there, so I felt a round and felt this really obvious lump – it felt like a golf ball.

‘I ended my gym session in panic and then told my boyfriend and ran towards the car.

‘I got in the car and called my best friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2019. He told me it was best I got it checked out – it was really scary.’

Sarah booked an appointment with her GP, who referred her to The Nightingale Center, a cancer treatment center at Withanshaw Hospital in Withenshawe, Greater Manchester.

There, a doctor examined her, who told her ‘there is really nothing to worry about’ and that it was likely a cyst, with nothing to worry about, before being referred for an ultrasound scan.

Final hurdle: The 35-year-old rings the bell to mark the end of her chemotherapy treatment

Final hurdle: The 35-year-old rings the bell to mark the end of her chemotherapy treatment

Sarah said: ‘I requested a GP appointment and within days I was seen, he took it really seriously and referred me to Nightingale at Withanshaw Hospital.

‘A doctor examined me and he told me there and then said there was really nothing to worry about and he believed it was just a cyst that would need to be lanced.

‘I then went in for an ultrasound, it was a female sonographer who was really friendly and asked if I was worried.

I said “yes” and then she started laughing, in a nice, reassuring way, and said “I don’t see anything here”.

A self-proclaimed 'gym hater', Sara is grateful that working out saved her life.  'I put on weight and I must have made noise.  Jim was dead, no one was there, so I felt a round and felt this really obvious lump - it felt like a golf ball.  I panicked and ended my gym session there and then, told my boyfriend and ran towards the car,' she said

A self-proclaimed ‘gym hater’, Sara is grateful that working out saved her life. ‘I put on weight and I must have made noise. Jim was dead, no one was there, so I felt a round and felt this really obvious lump – it felt like a golf ball. I panicked and ended my gym session there and then, told my boyfriend and ran towards the car,’ she said

Despite not finding anything ominous during her exam, she continued to suffer from shooting pains in her breast and believed the lump until she went back to her doctors again in March 2021. was increasing.

Despite not finding anything ominous during her exam, she continued to suffer from shooting pains in her breast and believed the lump until she went back to her doctors again in March 2021. was increasing.

‘I was just so relieved that I remember “Thank God for that”. They didn’t really answer me what it was, but they couldn’t see anything sinister, so I left.’

Sarah said that despite not finding anything ominous during her examination, she continued to suffer from shooting pains in her breast and believed that the lump was growing.

In March 2021 she decided to go back to her doctor because she knew something was not right and on 23 April she got another hospital appointment.

Sarah said: ‘After the appointment it was around Christmas time so I just enjoyed my Christmas, but the pain was still there and the lump was growing in my opinion.

‘On my best friend’s birthday I said the lump was still there. He felt it for me and he said, “If you’re worried, go back”.

Sarah said, 'It was Christmas time after the appointment so I just enjoyed my Christmas but the pain was still there and the lump was growing in my opinion.  she is pictured here around christmas

Sarah said, ‘It was Christmas time after the appointment so I just enjoyed my Christmas but the pain was still there and the lump was growing in my opinion. she is pictured here around christmas

‘It felt big and kept on hurting. It just became more apparent and you could see it even when I was lying down.

‘I was trying to put it to bed but for some reason, this gut feeling kept going to me and asking to check it out.

‘I ended up booking the appointment based on that and was…

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