Friends set up cancer support group in Weston

Teresa Ridley was diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago.

Teresa Ridley was diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago. - Credit: Archant

A breast cancer survivor from Weston has set up a support group to help others who have been diagnosed with the disease.

Teresa Ridley found out she had breast cancer three years ago when she got called in for a trial screening programme at the age of 49.

Teresa had no idea she was unwell until the screening and feels so fortunate it was discovered and treated so quickly.

She said: "I didn't have any symptoms. It was pure fluke I was called up on this trial and I feel quite blessed.

"I was called back for additional screening and then in to Soutmead Hospital for a biopsy where they found I had high grade cancer and needed to have my breast off."

Teresa had a mastectomy on her right breast, followed by DIEP surgery which involves skin, fat and blood vessels being taken from your stomach and formed into a breast shape.

She said: "The team at Southmead Hospital was amazing - the plastics team and nurses - they were really incredible.

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"The hospital has got a wonderful Macmillan Wellbeing Centre there where they do breast screening.

"They've got a charity called Keeping Abreast which holds patient meetings, where you can meet surgeons and talk about scars and wigs.

"You get to meet people who can help you at different stages and also talk to other patients.

"I have since met a couple of ladies who went through the same at Weston General Hospital, but it hasn't got the facilities. They've got a nurse, but nowhere for patients to meet up."

Teresa and her friend Louise McMilan decided to set up Weston-super-Mare Breast Cancer Support Group to help women going through cancer treatment.

The group meets at Lasseter's, in the Winter Gardens, on the first Monday of the month from 7-9pm.

Teresa said: "It's all about wellbeing and making ladies feel good about themselves again.

"We just want to help people and provide a bit of laughter, companionship and support.

"It's knowing you've got someone you can talk to who's been there and understands.

"It's not just for breast cancer patients. And family and friends are also welcome.

"I think there's a real need for groups like this and we want more people to come along."

Anyone interested in finding out more can call Teresa on 07581 658936, or pop along to the meeting on Monday.