Peterborough nurse and breast cancer survivor tells her story to help others battling condition

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Sharon Maywood switched career from accountancy to nursing while fighting cancer

A breast cancer survivor, nurse and national award winner has shared her story in the hope that it will help others during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Sharon Maywood made national headlines when she won the Skills for Health, Health Heroes award for the Breakthrough Apprentice of the Year category for her inspiring story. At 40 she decided to completely change her career in accountancy to become a Healthcare Assistant and has worked her way up the career ladder to become a fully qualified nurse, despite battling breast cancer at the same time.

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Sharon was a model student after applying for a pilot scheme as a Nursing Associate in 2017. She qualified in 2019 and then applied for a two-year top up course to become a fully qualified staff nurse at Peterborough City Hospital in 2021 – all whilst fighting her own cancer battle.

Sharon MaywoodSharon Maywood
Sharon Maywood

She said: “I have just had my five-year all clear mammogram, so I have reached a huge milestone, but I will never forget those early days when I found a lump. I dismissed it for three weeks and thought it was just linked to my monthly cycle, but my husband kept telling me to get it checked and I am so glad he did. If I had left it any longer it could have spread further into my lymph glands and the outcome may have been very different.

“If I can share anything from my experience it would be to make sure you keep checking your breasts, go to your screening appointments and go to the GP if you see or feel any changes to your breasts.”

Sharon is now working at Hinchingbrooke Hospital, but the support that she received during her treatment, and the continued support from her current colleagues, helped her in her fight against cancer.

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She said: “Everyone has been so supportive and if I didn’t have my team around me cheering me on, I really would have struggled with it all. I was so determined to finish my course with my cohort. We are such a close team, so my colleagues knew when I needed a break and if I needed to adjust my shifts to accommodate my treatment. I am so grateful for their support.”