Golders Green teachers raises �8,000 for breast cancer

A teacher who fought breast cancer has raised up to �8,000 to fund research into the disease, by organising a “pink day” at her Golders Green school and hosting a charity dinner.

Mother-of-three Diane Davies, 46, found a lump in her breast two years ago and went to her GP, who referred her to a surgeon. After undergoing a year of treatment, including chemotherapy, a mastectomy, reconstructive surgery and radiotherapy, she was given the all clear.

“It’s really important to raise awareness about breast cancer,” said Ms Davies, who lives in Crouch End. “I caught it early but I was lucky. Unless people are vigilant you might not know.”

She believes the age limit at which women in the UK are offered a mammogram on the NHS, should be reduced, from 50 to 40, because screening is crucial in detecting the disease in its early stages.

The age will drop to 47 in 2012, but Ms Davies doesn’t feel this goes far enough.

Last Monday (January 31) the supply geography teacher organised a pink day at King Alfred’s School, where pupils and staff paid �1 each to wear pink. Then in the evening, she hosted a charity dinner for friends, family and the medical team who cared for her in Kentish Town.

“I’m raising money for research into breast cancer because it’s two years since I was given the diagnosis and I’ve been clear for a year,” she said. “This year will also be the 10th anniversary of my mother’s death. She died aged 60, from breast cancer.

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“I wanted to give something back and I feel fit enough to do a fundraiser. It’s really important to find a cure for breast cancer. Survival rates are going up all the time but it’s still the biggest killer of women in the UK. I’m hoping that one day people won’t have to go through the treatment.”

Talking about her own treatment, she added: “The chemotherapy was very aggressive, I lost my hair and it was very gruelling.

“If you do find something, you must go to the doctor even if the treatment isn’t very pleasant. I got through it but if you leave it, there’s not much you can do.”

The timing of Ms Davies’ fundraising efforts is particularly pertinent because new figures show that a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer has risen, from one in nine women to one in eight, according to Cancer Research UK.

The charity’s figures – released on Friday – show that cases of breast cancer in women have risen 3.5 per cent from 42,400 in 1999 to 47,700 in 2008.

The biggest rise in rates was among women aged between 50 and 69 where cases increased by more than six per cent. Rates among younger women aged 25 to 49 dropped slightly by 0.5 per cent.

Exercising, eating healthily and reducing alcohol intake can reduce the risks, according to the charity.