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Breast health 2019

How MasterChef winner, Jane, tackled breast cancer

For MasterChef 2016 winner, Jane Devonshire, fast action and the kitchen table were crucial to tackling breast cancer.

Only in the final episode Jane Devonshire won MasterChef in 2016 did she reveal that she had had breast cancer. “I didn’t want to win because of the cancer. It was liberating to win because of my cooking. My illness was irrelevant,” says the stay-at-home mother of four.

Aged 41, Jane found a lump. She did not smoke, was not overweight, walked daily and had no family history of cancer, but went to her GP quickly. A lumpectomy, radiotherapy and chemotherapy followed.

Don’t let other people’s ways of tackling cancer make you feel inadequate. Everyone fights it their own way.

For Jane, the kitchen played a big part. “Even when I couldn’t eat, I cooked the family dinner. It may only have been shepherd’s pie or sausage and chips, but sitting down to eat with the children and talking about school, and what was going on with me, maintained our normality.”

Almost five years after the all-clear, a scan revealed a secondary breast cancer in her liver. “It was the darkest time, but seven years later, I am still in remission, and feeling lucky and grateful to everyone who helped.”

Jane advises: “Attend all your mammogram and smear appointments. Check your breasts and, if you find anything unusual, consult your GP quickly.

“I have heard of women delaying for six months. That time can be critical. Don’t put it off because you are frightened or busy or fear you may be overreacting, and don’t beat yourself up about how you should have led a healthier life.

“Just go to your doctor.”

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