Mum and daughter diagnosed with breast cancer on the same day… then have surgery on the same day too!
Karen Williams and Diane Leach also had surgery on the same dayWere both diagnosed in February last year and are now recovering
Having a mother who had breast cancer doubles a woman's risk
Daily Mail Reporter
10:57 GMT, 25 April 2013
00:53 GMT, 26 April 2013
Karen Williams and her mother, Diane Leach, were both diagnosed with breast cancer on the same day
When Karen Williams found a lump in her breast, she and her husband went to break the bad news to her mother.
They were astounded when Diane Leach told them that she had found a lump in a breast, too.
Their worst fears were confirmed when both were subsequently diagnosed with breast cancer on the same day, having unwittingly been in the same queue for a mammogram.
The coincidences didn’t end there, however. For mother and daughter were then operated on by the same surgeon in the same hospital on the same day.
Mrs Williams, 41, and Mrs Leach, 65, are now well on the way to recovery from their cancers.
The chain of coincidence began after Mrs Williams, a mother of four from Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, discovered a pea-sized lump in her breast while showering.
‘I didn’t like the feel of it. Straight away I thought it was cancer,’ she said.
She and her husband Stuart Burnside went to tell her mother at her home in Chester.
‘I told her I’d found a lump, and she said, “So have I”. I thought she was joking,’ said Mrs Williams, who works as a beauty consultant at Boots.
‘I went to my GP and she went to hers. The doctor thought it might just be a cyst, but I knew.
‘I went for a mammogram a few days later and didn’t realise my mum was also going. Stuart saw her as we were in the queue.
‘It was a crazy situation to both be
diagnosed on the same day and my two sisters and my dad didn’t know what
to do with themselves – they didn’t know who to visit.’
Both women went for surgery at the Countess of Chester Hospital on the same day last year.
The mother and daughter also underwent surgery on the same day, at the same hospital
Mrs Leach, who has retired from a
carpet fitting business, underwent a mastectomy while her daughter had a
tumour removed from her right breast, tissue from her left and had
both breasts reduced.
They were even in adjoining wards after their surgery and could bang on the wall to each other.
‘On the day of our operation, the
consultant at the hospital couldn’t believe that we had been diagnosed
on the same day and would be undergoing our operation on the same day,’
Mrs Williams said. ‘She said that in 40 years in the NHS she had never
seen anything like it before.’
Even more astonishing is the fact that there were no genetic factors linking their diagnoses.
‘The breast cancer we had is not
hereditary and can happen to any woman, at any time. It is just a case
of bad luck that we were both diagnosed at the same time,’ Mrs Williams
‘It was a really hard period to go
through but we have a wonderful family who supported us all the way
through it, and continue to be there for us.’
Mother and daughter were both treated at the Countess of Chester Hospital
After receiving support from Macmillan
staff during their treatment, she was full of praise for their work and
the support they offer to patients.
‘The chemotherapy was really, really
severe and there were some really dark days when I thought I just
couldn’t carry on going,’ Mrs Williams said.
‘Having a wonderful family and
husband around me, as well as the support given by Macmillan, helped me
keep going and now, thankfully, I am starting to get back to some sort
'I have gone back to work recently at
Boots, which I have loved and everyone has been great, but I think that I
might like to try a different career path and work with those affected
‘It has really had a profound effect on both me and my mum.’
Having finished their courses of
chemotherapy, the mother and daughter are now hosting a charity event
in aid of Macmillan Cancer Care.