Rachel De Thame, 58, is no stranger to how health can negatively affect one’s life. At the young age of 15 Rachel contracted an infectious disease known as glandular fever which meant she had to give up on her dream of being a dancer. The mother of four had another health blow recently, but advocates the power of plants and being out in the garden for helping normalise her situation. What was she diagnosed with and what are the early symptoms?
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Rachel inherited her love for plants and gardening from her father and enrolled at the English Gardening School studying practical horticulture and plants and plantsmanship.
She quickly made a name for herself becoming co-presenter on the BBC’s annual coverage of the Chelsea Flower Show at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show.
It was her absence in 2018 that sparked concern from fans who wondered why she was a no-show.
Viewers watching the Chelsea Flower Show had contacted the programme to query why she had been absent from broadcasts.
Their touching concern prompted Rachel to reveal the details of her health.
Rachel said: “I haven’t been hiding, but I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the beginning of the year and so I have been undergoing treatment for that.
“I’m doing well and coming towards the end of it.
“It’s caught early so that’s all very positive, so on the whole it’s better not to be working too much just now.”
What is breast cancer?
Breast cancer is a disease in which cells in the breast grow out of control.
There are different kinds of breast cancer which depends on which cells in the breast turn into cancer.
Breast cancer can begin in different parts of the breast. A breast is made up of three main parts lobules, ducts and connective tissue.
Breast cancer can spread outside the breast through blood vessels and lymph vessels.
When breast cancer spreads to other parts of the body, it is said to have metastasis.
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What are the symptoms of breast cancer?
Cancer treatment centres of America said: “Perhaps the most recognised symptom of breast cancer is a lump or mass in the breast tissue.
“While many women go to the doctor after finding a lump, every woman should be aware of other changes to the breast or nipple.
“With the different types of breast cancer come a variety of related symptoms.
“For example invasive ductal carcinoma which forms in the milk ducts, may cause distinct breast lump that you can feel.
“Early warning signs could include skin changes, increase in size or change in breast, changes in the appearance of one or both nipples or lumps or nodes felt on or inside of the breast.”
When it comes to overcoming her health issues, Rachel said: “I know there’s a big message this year at Chelsea about the importance of gardening for your general health and mental health…..if you’re going through some chronic illness, whatever it is…. it’s vital to go out and be in a garden.”
She revealed it helped her “normalise” the disease, adding: “I just want to be out there and doing it.”
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