‘Weight loss surgery in Birmingham saved my life after I lost 19 stone and found a lump on my breast’

Bethany Woodward, aged 28, discovered a lump on her right breast after undergoing weight loss surgery and losing 19 stone at a private hospital in Birmingham

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She dropped 19 stone after undergoing weight loss surgery at a private hospital in Birmingham.

But the real benefit for Bethany Woodward turned out to be even more crucial - the 28 year-old says the procedure saved her life as she discovered a lump on her breast that turned out to be an aggressive cancer.

Growing up, care manager Bethany always struggled with her weight after having a sweet tooth and an ‘’addiction’’ to Cadbury’s Dairy Milk.

In her early 20s, she restricted her food in a bid to slim down but inevitably binged on sweet treats. She was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) in August 2021 which can affect fertility and weight. At her heaviest, Bethany was tipping the scales at 29st 7lbs and a UK size 32.

She was slimmed down to 11 stone and a dress size 12 after a £12,500 gastric bypass at Dolan Park private hospital in July 2019.

Bethany Woodward, 27 with her fiance Ash Read, 28Bethany Woodward, 27 with her fiance Ash Read, 28
Bethany Woodward, 27 with her fiance Ash Read, 28

But just before Christmas, in December 2021, she found the lump on her breast while lying down. Her local GP ran a biopsy and Bethany was referred to Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust who diagnosed her in July 2022.

Six months later she was officially diagnosed with stage three triple-negative breast cancer. The devastating diagnosis came on the same day Bethany and fiancé, Ash Read, 28, a HGV tire fitter, started their first round of fertility treatment.

A month later she began 16 weekly sessions of chemotherapy and in May 2023, Bethany had a lumpectomy operation to remove the lump in her breast. Medics also froze 10 embryos to ensure the couple could carry on their fertility journey after treatment.

Bethany, from Great Wyrley, Staffordshire, is still undergoing chemotherapy until February 2024 but is speaking out to ‘’urge others to get checked out’’.

Bethan Woodward before weight loss surgeryBethan Woodward before weight loss surgery
Bethan Woodward before weight loss surgery

She said: "This experience has changed my mindset completely and I wouldn’t be the person I am today without it. Losing a load of weight is a life-change in itself but to be diagnosed with breast cancer is another thing entirely.

"Doctors said if I was bigger, I wouldn’t have noticed the lump on my chest. I was terrified going into it all, but Ash has been my rock. I feel so thankful to the NHS for the incredible treatment I’ve received over the last four years not just with the chemo

"I urge young women to get their breasts checked because it’s a race against time. I’m not in the all-clear but nothing is going to stop me from fighting. I own cancer, cancer doesn’t own me."