Strictly her business

Nicola Adam, Group Editor
Nicola Adam, Group Editor

It was an interesting co-incidence this week that during the start of Pinktober, otherwise known as Breast Cancer Awareness month, the subject of mastectomies was pushed into the public consciousness through TV show Strictly Comes Dancing.

This is something very personal to me.

My mum had full double surgery as a breast cancer patient and never had reconstructive surgery.

Her choice and a brave one, particularly considering she did briefly return to her career as a swimming teacher before the disease put paid to her sporty lifestyle.

The fantastic Anastacia is appearing on Strictly, proving there is life after mastectomy and breast cancer.

However, she opted for reconstruction and when she suffered a related injury, the format was changed slightly, which was fair enough.

The furore around this was disconcerting, with some disparaging and frankly ignorant remarks about her reconstruction.

Her decision was her own, and frankly, her bravery in taking part in this physically challenging and high profile show is a huge step toward awareness of breast cancer, living with it and surviving it.

She will undoubtedly provide inspiration for some of those diagnosed with a disease and facing decisions and complications they could never have dreamed of.

For every Anastacia conquering the disease, there are hundreds, thousands, of other women who need to see that and know it is possible.

More importantly that they can tackle control of the decisions that matter to them.

I clearly remember my own mother, newly diagnosed and facing radical surgery aged 41, sitting on a sofa and trying to explain what was happening to her three school age children.

I know that seeing somebody like Anastacia in the public eye, would have given her hope and strength and knowledge there is life during and after cancer.

My mum did eventually succumb to this dreadful disease, surviving another 18 years during which she studied for two degrees, took a year off abroad and saw her children to adulthood.

She very much lived despite and not just with the cancer and though her story will not be told in lights on a Saturday night primetime show, it is survivors like Anastacia who do it for her.