BELINDA Randle is one of the growing number of people in South Yorkshire who have survived cancer – something that was unheard of just a few decades ago.
The mum-of-two from Aston, Rotherham, was diagnosed with two forms of breast cancer just months after giving birth.
Belinda, now 39, overcame her life-threatening condition after receiving a year’s intense treatment at Weston Park.
Now, nine years since she was diagnosed, Belinda has a new outlook on life.
“People who have survived cancer are not victims, nor are we heroes,” she said.
“We are individuals and are blessed to go on living.
“Having cancer in my case was kill or cure. It was about surviving a near-death experience. You are grateful to be alive, but being a survivor can also bring concerns about your long-term health and future - which is why the late effects service is so important.”
Belinda was just 30 and had just given birth to her second child, daughter Elfie, when she was diagnosed.
Her condition required an intensive year of treatment of chemotherapy at Rotherham Hospital, then surgery, followed by a combination of radiotherapy and chemotherapy at Weston Park.
“I had to have some very hard hitting treatment and I accepted this, as my goal was to be here to see my children grow up,” said Belinda, mum to Jacob, 12, and Elfie, now aged nine.
After completing treatment Belinda, who works at Sheffield Hallam University, had to deal with a big adjustment in how she saw her life.
She said: “I do have a different outlook - you experience life more intensely and you don’t take things for granted.
“Cancer survivors have complicated individual histories and need help in terms of medical support, information and education to manage our long-term health.
“There is growing interest in survival issues, with the development of a national cancer survivorship initiative - as more and more people are, thankfully, surviving.”
She added: “Meeting Dr Greenfield and her team made a big difference to me – the service they offer is priceless.
“There is an understanding of what it is like to be a survivor, and the need to be able to ask questions and to speak to someone if you are worried about your health after your treatment is completed.
“I felt very fortunate that I’ve not had the late effects that I could have experienced – such as early menopause or problems with my teeth.
“Being able to have those conversations has made a real difference and I think it’s a fantastic service. It has given me a lot of confidence to live life to the full.”