CircleReading hospital - Clare’s story

PUBLISHED: 10:24 13 January 2015 | UPDATED: 12:53 23 March 2015

Clare James, a mother of two young children, never really thought that she would be diagnosed with cancer when she decided to go for a routine check-up with her GP.

“I asked for a genetic review of my family history, as I was aware that there was evidence of both breast and ovarian cancer on my maternal side. I wanted to make sure everything was clear for me. It was as a result of this initial enquiry, that a mammogram was recommended.

“I went for my first mammogram in April this year, where areas of calcification were identified in my right breast. “I was referred to CircleReading hospital for my treatment, where I was seen by a Mr Stephen Courtney; Breast Specialist Consultant. CircleReading had consultation and surgery appointments which worked best around my family and work life, so it seemed the sensible choice.

“Nothing can prepare you for the shock and sense of loneliness that comes with being told you have cancer. I kept asking myself: ‘Will I see my kids go to school? ’I don’t know how long the cancer had been there; I’m just thankful that I decided to get myself checked out. The wait between biopsies was a challenging time, as there was uncertainty around whether the cancer was contained in the milk ducts or whether it had spread elsewhere.

“Throughout my numerous, subsequent consultations at CircleReading hospital, Mr Brendan Smith, Oncoplastic Breast Consultant, was really supportive; he tactfully encouraged me to explore the various options open to me.

“Each appointment was at a time that suited me and worked around my job and children; the team treated me like a member of their family with a real sense of patience and understanding.

“Moreover, I never felt rushed or pressured and, although I am sure that I repeatedly asked the same questions, they were dealt with sympathetically. Equally, I felt appropriately challenged to consider all of the options fully.

“The post-operative care was great. The team in the recovery room were really attentive, with an appropriate blend of concern and a refreshing degree of humour. The nurses were supportive and understanding; I can’t even begin to compare this with my only other hospital experience. When I was pregnant with my first child, I had to have an emergency C-section at another hospital; however, there, I could not wait to leave, as I felt neglected and helpless. The CircleReading experience was the polar opposite; yes, by definition, you do feel vulnerable, but I felt supported, understood and truly cared for.

“It has been six months since my mastectomy, and nearly three months since my second operation for reconstruction. I feel incredibly lucky; I received the very best treatment and care, and I am now healthy and well!

“I am slightly more body conscious but, other than that, I am doing exactly what I was before, except now, I am an even stronger believer in living life to its fullest.”


CircleReading hospital offers all aspects of diagnosis and treatment for breast disease, including:

• symptomatic breast problems.

• mammogram and ultrasound.

• all breast surgery.

• Pilates-based recovery exercise programme for those who have had breast cancer.


CircleReading hospital is recognised by all insurance companies. There are also accessible and affordable treatments for self-funding patients, with finance options available in partnership with First Medical Loans.

CircleReading hospital provides treatments for both NHS and private patients.

To find out more, please visit or call 0800 046 9496. Alternatively, email at



8 places to get fit in Buckinghamshire

Tips to get a good night’s sleep

The arrival and work of the Friends Ambulance Unit during the Great War

Latest from the Berkshire Life