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“When it comes to cancer, early detection really is key.

Mother of two, Viola O’ Donovan from Clonakilty in Co. Cork had always considered herself to be ‘breast aware’. The 41 year old had suffered from breast cysts for a number of years, so when she found a dent in her breast last Christmas, she thought little of it.

“I’d been to breast clinic in September and everything was clear, so when I found a tiny change I ignored it for a month- it didn’t look like anything to me. A month later I came across an article about a lady in Australia with a picture of what she had found on her breast, which turned out to be cancer. It looked similar to mine, so I called my doctor, described what I had found and he referred me to the breast clinic in Cork.”

Two weeks later, Viola had a triple assessment and the following Monday, she was called in for results.

“I knew once they rang me there was something wrong. I brought my husband Donal with me, and when they explained that they had found cancer we were relieved in a way. The week waiting and not knowing was worse than being told. Thankfully they were so reassuring that it was caught so early and small and treatable.” She says

Viola’s treatment began in March 2021 and included a lumpectomy, followed by 12 weekly doses of chemo, and radiotherapy every day for 4 weeks.

Viola is doing well now, and has recently begun hormone treatment which she will take for the next 8 months.

She says the one positive she takes from her cancer experience is the incredible support she has received from her family, friends and colleagues.

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“Everyone has been so, so good. People have really gone above and beyond to support me- cooking dinners, sending flowers and cards, there has been so much kindness.”
Viola O' Donovan
Care for your Pair


Before her diagnosis, Viola worked as a Special Needs Assistant, she was extremely touched when her school organised a fundraiser for Daffodil Day 2021, raising over €3000! She looks forward to hopefully returning to work in early 2022.

Viola’s message to everyone this Breast Cancer Awareness month is:

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“When it comes to cancer, early detection really is key. You have to know what’s normal for you and check everything and anything. I thought my small change couldn’t be anything, because I had only been checked a few months prior to it, so it’s so important to check everything and to check regularly. Visit to learn how to check yourself properly and please visit your GP if you notice anything that’s not normal for you.”
Viola O' Donovan
Viola O' Donovan
Care For Your Pair

Learn more about breast health and about how you can support breast cancer patients this October.

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