A RESCUE dog has been credited with “spotting” his owner’s breast cancer after “sniffing and nuzzling” her right armpit.

Lucy Giles believes she owes her life to her adopted 11-stone Newfoundland Broady who started “nuzzling” her armpit two months after being adopted.

At first she thought the two-year-old dog, whose family who could no longer look after him, just wanted attention but after discovering a lump in her armpit she was later diagnosed with breast cancer.

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The Didcot animal-lover had welcomed the rescue into her life in July 2021 after her partner Ashley, 62, had spent six months in hospital on a life-support machine after contracting covid-19.

When Ashley retuned home he was dependant on Miss Giles, who works as carer, and she became his full-time support.

Oxford Mail: Lucy and her rescue dog BroadyLucy and her rescue dog Broady (Image: N/A)

As part of his recovery, the pair decided to add to the family of pets who they dote on, including two dogs Leo and Murphy, 18 rabbits, two cats and a tortoise.

The 45-year-old said: “It was in the September that he started to sniff and nuzzle at my right armpit. It was mostly when I was sat down, so either watching TV or sitting down for a rest and always in the same spot on my right side.

“At first, I thought it was him wanting a bit of fuss and attention but I decided that I should perhaps take notice as it was just my right side he would do this.

“I was washing myself in the shower one morning and decided to have a feel under my breasts and examine myself and that’s when I felt a lump right there in my armpit.

“I knew then I would have to call my GP surgery and was told to wait a month as my doctor thought it could be hormonal.

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“But after waiting some weeks, the lump was still present and I went back to the doctors and was later referred to the Churchill Hospital for tests.

“The hospital called me one afternoon and asked me to come in and I had no idea what the news would be as they wouldn’t tell me over the phone, so I asked my parents to come with me.

“The consultant was kind but said straight away that I had Hert 2+breast cancer and there was also residual cancer cells in my lymph nodes.

Oxford Mail: Broady the rescue dogBroady the rescue dog (Image: N/A)

“The news hit me hard as it was the same day my nan had died from bowel cancer the year previously and I was with her when she died.”

In October last year, Miss Giles underwent six rounds of chemotherapy followed by a lumpectomy with radiotherapy afterwards.

She is still going through chemotherapy as well as continuing to work full time.

“I have had dark days and OK days,” she said. “The chemo does make me feel poorly with mouth ulcers and some nose bleeds but I have a brilliant support network of family and friends who take me to appointments and help in just being there for me, along with Broady of course who perhaps came into our lives for a reason.”

Miss Giles is sharing her story to encourage people to join her in Oxford on Saturday, September 3 for this year’s Cancer Research UK Shine Night Walk.

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The event starts at Oxpens Meadow in the city of Oxford when participants will take to the streets in a fun and inspirational parade of light that - stride by stride - will help Cancer Research UK get closer to beating cancer.

Alison Birkett, at Cancer Research UK, said: “One in two of us will get cancer in our lifetime, but all of us can help beat it.

“As we mark our anniversary, we want to thank Lucy, Ashley and of course Broady and people across Oxfordshire for their incredible commitment to events like Shine Night Walk that make our life-saving work possible.”

To enter, or volunteer, visit shinewalk.org


Read more from this author

This story was written by Gee Harland. She joined the team in 2022 as a senior multimedia reporter.

Gee covers Wallingford, Wantage and Didcot.

Get in touch with her by emailing: Gee.harland@newsquest.co.uk

Follow her on Twitter @Geeharland

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