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Miramichi woman spreads early detection awareness after breast cancer diagnosis

Former Miramichi councillor speaks about the importance of early detection after cancer diagnosis
A Miramichi woman is speaking out about the importance of early detection.

A Miramichi woman is taking her breast cancer diagnosis in stride and remaining positive about it.

But that’s only because Peggy McLean, a former city councillor and Progressive Conservative candidate for the Miramichi-Grand Lake riding, says she went to the doctors shortly after the recent federal election campaign after noticing a lump on her breast.

“There was just something in the back of my mind that was saying, ‘something is just off, something doesn’t feel right, go get it checked’.”

She was diagnosed with triple-negative invasive carcinoma, an aggressive form of breast cancer.

Peggy McLean, who was diagnosed with triple-negative invasive carcinoma in November, says she’s very optimistic about her treatment because the cancer was caught so early.
Peggy McLean, who was diagnosed with triple-negative invasive carcinoma in November, says she’s very optimistic about her treatment because the cancer was caught so early. Callum Smith / Global News

Despite the diagnosis, though, the news didn’t catch McLean off guard, because she caught it so early.

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“I was just about moving (treatment) forward as quickly we can, because the faster I start, the sooner I finish,” she says.

Her 23-year-old daughter, however, was a bit more concerned.

“I thought, of course it’s a big deal,” Arika McLean says. “But she’s very, very positive and very reassuring so that has been helpful.”

McLean, who has completed one-third of her chemotherapy so far, says she was surprised she’d be losing her hair so early in the battle.

AI could improve breast cancer detection
AI could improve breast cancer detection

While the treatment and disease are physically tiring, she’s very positive and optimistic about the eventual outcome.

“It’s going to be six-(to)-eight months, we’re going to have six chemo treatments, then we wait about four-to-six weeks and I’ll have surgery,” she says. “Then there’s six weeks healing from that.”

Normally a pretty private person when it comes to posting about her own life, McLean says she figured this was a good opportunity to share her story on social media to spread the message about the importance of early detection.

“If you’ve got that little voice that’s telling you something just doesn’t feel right, pay attention,” she says.

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After her Facebook post, McLean says someone reached out to her and was listening to that exact message.

“She had said to me, ‘I just wanted to let you know that your post has saved a life’.”