Hull MP Diana Johnson shares cancer story 'to help others'

MP Diana Johnson
Image caption Diana Johnson said there were some "dark, dark moments" during her treatment

An MP who survived breast cancer is urging women to have routine screening as she said her early diagnosis saved her life.

Diana Johnson, Hull North MP, found out after undergoing her first mammogram when turning 50. She said her immediate reaction was that she would die.

Ms Johnson assumed she was "absolutely healthy" when she was offered screening as part of the NHS programme in 2016.

She said: "I feel very lucky that I had it picked up so soon."

Ms Johnson, who was 16 when her mother died from cancer, said she was sharing her story to encourage women not to decline the offer of screening.

Who gets breast screening?

  • Women are routinely offered screening when they reach the age of 50 - they will get an invite every three years until their 71st birthday
  • The NHS is doing a trial of extending routine screening to some women aged 47-73
  • If you have an increased risk of breast cancer because you carry certain genes or have close relatives who have had breast cancer, you may be offered yearly checks

She said: "I think whenever anybody is told they've got a diagnosis of cancer, you immediately think they're going to die.

"I think I felt that particularly because my mother had died... I think getting around that and coming to terms with it takes a while.

"From my own experience of feeling absolutely fine, having that mammogram was very important and I think it saved my life."

Although she said there were some "dark, dark moments" during treatment, Ms Johnson continued working and said colleagues in Parliament were supportive.

She said: "It's the early diagnosis that gives you the best chance of success.

"I want this to be a message of hope. That I've had cancer and survived it."

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