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Veterinary nurse credits Labrador with saving her life

"That pet saved my life."

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Angie with her Spaniels Toby and Stanley. Angie credits one of her dog patients, a labrador, with saving her life. (Beechwood Vets via SWNS)

By Izzy Hawksworth via SWNS

A veterinary nurse has credited a labrador with saving her life after it headbutted her in the chest - and detected her fast-growing breast cancer.

Angie Shaw was knocked over and headbutted by the Labrador she was treating as she was helping turn him over on the consult table, causing a lump on her chest.

When the lump was still sore a week later, Angie went to the GP who referred her for scans and biopsies, which revealed she had a fast-growing form of breast cancer.

She had an operation to remove the tumor - which had already grown by two millimeters - just 13 days after her diagnosis.

Without the labrador hitting Angie, doctors said the tumor would have taken another ten months to be detected due to its position.

Her next mammogram also wasn’t due for about nine months, by which time the invasive grade three cancer would have been too advanced to be able to save her life.

Angie said: "The lump was purely coincidental and had nothing to do with the cancer.

"But if the pet hadn’t head-butted me, the cancer wouldn’t have shown up for nine to 10 months by which point it would have spread.

"It would have been too late. That pet saved my life.

"When we turned him over, he head-butted me by my left breast, towards my breastbone.

"A decent-sized lump appeared. I left it for a week, but it was sore, so I got a doctor’s appointment the next day.

"I thought it was a cyst. When I was told that I would have to have surgery, chemotherapy and then radiotherapy my whole world fell apart."

The grandmother-of-three then had six rounds of chemotherapy which lasted 18 weeks and 15 doses of chemotherapy.

She finished her treatment and is now celebrating being cancer free but is encouraging others to check for lumps as an "early diagnosis is so important."

(Beechwood Vets via SWNS)

Angie, of Leeds, UK, said: "My colleagues were really supportive. That helped massively.

"I said that I don’t want sympathy or special treatment as I am living with cancer, not dying from it.

"I will lose my hair so I will be wearing a wig. Tell me if it’s wonky or if the label is showing – but for goodness sake, get any lumps checked.

"I hate to be the center of attention, but you swallow your pride.

"I thought if I could save one person’s life by encouraging them to get lumps checked, that’s my job done.

"Breast cancer is almost a taboo subject, but it is nothing to be ashamed of.

"There’s nothing I have done to cause it. There’s nothing I could have done to prevent it.

"I am lucky – because we found it in time. I lost some of my hair during the chemotherapy. It is a small price to pay.

"Early diagnosis is so important."

Angie, who qualified as a veterinary nurse in 2011, said: "I had to keep positive.

"Everyone thinks a cancer diagnosis is the death warrant.

"I thought ‘I have too much to do to let it get in the way of my life’.

"An experience like that gives you a whole different perspective.

"You realize how special life is and how quickly it can turn around. I have been given a second chance.

"You learn to make the most of who and what is important to you."

Angie's cancer was detected after a Labrador head-butted her in the chest. (Beechwood Vets via SWNS)

Louise Mallinson, the clinical director of Beechwood Vets where Angie works, has described the mom-of-two has an 'incredibly brave' person.

She said: "The way Angie has tackled her cancer diagnosis and treatment has been absolutely inspirational.

"She has been incredibly brave, positive and determined in her outlook.

"Angie is fantastic with both our patients and clients, and we’re very lucky to have her as part of the team.

"We are all incredibly proud of her and couldn’t be happier that she has been given the all-clear."

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