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The path to recovery: a nurse’s account of her battle with cancer

Community nurse Sue Shaw has written a book about her experiences as a person with cancer and her path to recovery.

Community nurse Sue Shaw has written a book about her experiences as a person with cancer and her path to recovery

A community nurse who was diagnosed with breast cancer more than two years ago has published a book about her experiences as a patient and her path to recovery.

Sue Shaw, who is based in Salisbury, Wiltshire, was diagnosed in June 2015 and has since had three operations, six rounds of chemotherapy and three weeks of radiotherapy.

In a bid to raise awareness of the disease and money for charity, she has written a book about her experience as a patient and her journey from discovering she had cancer to the recovery stage.

‘Felt different as a patient’

‘Initially I was embarrassed to talk about my condition, which is quite surprising given I have been a nurse for more than 30 years and there is not a lot that phases me,’ she said. ‘But as a patient I felt totally different. It felt personal.’

However, she told Cancer Nursing Practice that she wanted to make something positive come of the situation and decided to raise awareness about the effects the disease has on people and the treatment process involved.

Part of her ‘cancer journey’ prompted her to run 3.5 miles a day, five days a week for three weeks while having radiotherapy, and she raised money for the Salisbury Breast Cancer Unit.

Highs and lows

After her diagnosis, Ms Shaw realised just how few people look out for symptoms of the disease or get concerns they may have checked out by a healthcare professional.

‘My book takes you through the lows and highs as seen through the eyes of a patient as well as a nurse,’ she said. 

‘My aim is to help people to become more confident in talking about their personal experiences if they need to.’

From each book sold, £1 will go to the Stars Appeal, which is Salisbury District Hospital’s charity, and £1 to Cancer Research UK.

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