THE WIFE OF Moray’s MSP has opened her heart to a Sunday Newspaper and revealed that she has embarked on a long fight against breast cancer.
Fiona Lochhead has returned to her Elgin home from Aberdeen Royal Infirmary after undergoing five hours of surgery on Friday.
In a frank and open interview conducted with the Sunday Mail the day before she went into hospital, Mrs Lochhead revealed how she had discovered the tumour by complete chance – and now wanted to urge all women not to make the same mistake she has.
Fiona is married to Richard Lochhead, Moray’s MSP and the Minister for Rural Affairs in the SNP Scottish Government. The couple have two children – 12-year-old Angus and Fraser, who is seven.
Following Friday’s lumpectomy operation she will require to undergo five months of chemotherapy followed by radiotherapy.
Appealing to all women to check regularly for unusual lumps, Mrs Lochhead said: “I wish every other woman who does not check their breasts could have been with me in the room when Richard and I had to tell our children that I have cancer.
“This is not a lump I would have missed if I had just checked my breasts – but I did not and I have to live with that. I feel foolish, guilty and so frustrated with myself – no one knows how long I might have had the lump growing in my breast but we know it is an aggressive type of breast cancer.
“I can’t do anything to change what has happened to me but I hope that, by speaking out, I can persuade other women to check their breasts. It is quite literally in our own hands to catch breast cancer as early as possible, and I urge other women not to make the same mistake as me.”
The cancer was discovered when Mrs Lochhead began to feel tired and lost her appetite, then was sick on several occasions. After being advised she could be suffering from kidney stones she was referred to hospital for a CT scan – however, before that appointment came through she found the lump on her breast.
Tests on that revealed breast cancer. Fiona said: “My husband has been amazing – the support he has given me and just listening to me. I think, in many ways, it is worse watching someone you care about suffer.”
Speaking of telling her children, Fiona said: “I told them that people have cancer, have surgery, get treatment and survive – and I’m going to be one of these people.”
Mr Lochhead spoke of his pride in his wife for speaking out, saying: “From day one she was adamant that she wanted to get the message across to other women as to why they should check themselves regularly.
“As a family, we have received huge support from our family, friends, the NHS and breast cancer charities – and we are grateful to them all.”
Women can visit www.breastcancernow.org for more information on how they should regularly check for signs of the condition.