Inspirational Warsop and Chesterfield friends with cancer warn 'get yourself checked'

Two friends who met whilst being treated for breast cancer are urging others to get health issues checked out – before it is too late.

Wednesday, 7th July 2021, 3:54 pm

Julie Powell, 55, from Warsop, and Bianca Markham, 31, from Chesterfield have been patients at Chesterfield Royal Hospital.

They are urging people not to put off getting any health problems – no matter how small – before any problems escalate.

On Wednesday (June 30), Bianca, a caterer and a mum of two, underwent an operation to remove her right breast. Bridal consultant Julie, a mum and step-mum, will undergo a lumpectomy on July 21.

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Pictured left Julie Powell (55), from Warsop, near Mansfield, and right Bianca Markham (31) from Chesterfield who became friends during their cancer treatments
Pictured left Julie Powell (55), from Warsop, near Mansfield, and right Bianca Markham (31) from Chesterfield who became friends during their cancer treatments

Bianca found a small lump under her breast last year, and ignored it until it got more painful. She went to see her doctor, and then consultants, thinking it was just a cyst, but after tests, she was told she had breast cancer.

Following weeks of gruelling chemotherapy she has now had her right breast removed, and will have her left breast removed at a later date.

In January, Julie went for a routine mammogram, followed by further tests. It was discovered that she had stage three cancer, an aggressive form of cancer, even though there were no visible signs of any lumps.

Pictured (left) Julie Powell from Warsop, near Mansfield, and (right) Bianca Markham from Chesterfield sporting wigs - they met at Chesterfield Royal Hospital whilst going through cancer treatments

She has undergone 18 weeks of chemotherapy and will also have to undertake weeks of radiotherapy followed by years of medication.

Bianca said: “I was one of those people who thought nothing of it and just got on with things. It’s a bit surreal but this has been the toughest time of my life, and it’s also affected my family and my boys.

“Please, if you find something, get it checked out. Do not leave it too late.”

Julie adds: “If there is anything even vaguely suspicious, get it checked. You do have to have a positive mental attitude and we are both there to support other people who are going through similar situations.”

Since meeting, the friend have been in constant contact, and recently had a special makeover and photoshoot with Make-up by Ema Brown of Mansfield Woodhouse, and photographer Elizabeth Orridge, whose studio is in Mansfield.

Elizabeth said: “The spirit and positivity shown by these beautiful friends is simply inspirational. They are fighting their own battles but supporting each other and other people who are going through tough times.”

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