'I'm here because of women who took part in research' 

Christine Gratus discovered she had breast cancer after attending routine NHS screening.

She says she's one of many people who are grateful to women who had taken part in previous research. 

''I'm here because of all the research that was done before I found out I had breast cancer,'' she says.

Christine Gratus

''I'm here with perfectly formed breasts thanks to women who took part in research that discovered that a lumpectomy (surgery to remove a small piece of breast tissue) is just as effective as a full mastectomy (removing the entire breast).

''I'm also here because of the women before me who took part in research on radiotherapy, surgery, and chemotherapy.''

In turn, she also took part in research. ''We have responsibilities as well as rights in this area. If we want treatment for breast cancer and other conditions to improve further, we have a responsibility to the women who come after us.

''People rightly make a fuss about getting the most effective treatments. But a lot of the time we don't really know what the best treatments are, and without more research we never will.''

Christine took part in a trial to see whether it was better to let fluid drain away from the site of surgery or to use a pump, and in another trial that looked at how radiotherapy could best be targeted and at what doses.

She acknowledges the main reason she took part in the research was because she thought she would receive the best possible level of care.

''When I was diagnosed, I read about breast cancer and found that I was likely to get the best standard of care, whichever arm of the trial I was in.

''I'm really pleased that I may have helped some of the women who are being diagnosed with breast cancer now.''

Page last reviewed: 05/01/2015

Next review due: 05/01/2017