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You are in: Hampshire > People > Your Stories > Emma Pontin's life with breast cancer

Emma Pontin

Emma Pontin's life with breast cancer

Emma Pontin from Hamble was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006 and this year hopes to overcome the final hurdles of her illness - as well as plan her wedding!

Emma is a freelance yacht skipper and was diagnosed with breast cancer whilst heading to the start line of a transatlantic race.

She was absolutely devastated by the news and was angry as the doctor had missed it for 18 months prior to the diagnosis. 

Emma felt there was something wrong with her left breast but was reassured everything was fine.  Luckily Emma persisted until she found out what was wrong and could get treatment.

Emma sailing in the Solent

Emma on the Solent during her treatment

On hearing she had breast cancer Emma says she thought to herself "I'm clearly going to die.  My aunt and my grandmother had both died from breast cancer so I assumed the same was going to happen to me"

Emma had to have lymph glands and her left breast removed. She couldn't wait for the operation.   Emma says "I spent a lot of time leaning forward so my boobs hung away from my chest.  Psychologically I wanted the cancer nowhere near me - to me my boobs were mouldy and I wanted them off."

Following her mastectomy Emma had chemo and radiotherapy, and felt lucky not to have any side effects.  She was able to continue sailing, instructing and racing throughout her treatment. She went on to finally skipper a big race 12 months later and then on to the Sydney-Hobart race.

Charlie and Emma

Emma sharing her story with Charlie in the studio

In March she had reconstructive surgery - she had her right breast removed as a preventative measure, and then had silicon replacements for both breasts. 

Emma says "Reconstructive surgery has made me feel whole again - physically, I am a complete woman once more.  I believe that if I hadn't had the surgery I would always feel like I had not finished with cancer."

BBC Radio Solent has been following Emma's story as part of their 100 Lives project.  Listen to Emma tell Charlie Crocker about how she's coped with surgery

Emma's fiance Richard proposed on Christmas Day 2006 in between the operation and the results as he wanted to prove he was going to be with her no matter what the diagnosis. They are getting married in West Sussex in July.

As well as focusing on her wedding plans, she's aiming to circumnavigate the globe at the Tropic of Cancer to raise funds for breast cancer. 

Continue to follow Emma's story on the Charlie Crocker show from 12.30pm - 4pm weekdays.

last updated: 14/04/2008 at 15:01
created: 09/04/2008

You are in: Hampshire > People > Your Stories > Emma Pontin's life with breast cancer

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