A young Irish doctor has died at the age of 33 after battling breast cancer for two years.
Dr Sarah McAnallen, from Portadown, Co Armagh, was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer in 2013, six weeks after graduating from her post graduate course. She underwent intensive treatment, including chemotherapy and a mastectomy, the Irish Independent reports.
McAnallen, who was named as Medicine Student of the Year at UCD in 2010/11, wrote about her battle with cancer, with one article featured in Forum, the Journal of the Irish College of General Practitioners and on Irishhealth.com. In the article, She writes about the moment she was told she had cancer.
"I was 31 and was being told that I had stage four breast cancer," she wrote. "I have learned of many young women in their 20s who are living with, and dying from, breast cancer. In the theory of survival of the fittest, I always considered myself to be one of these so-called fittest people. There is sometimes no explanation, no answer to why, or at least, not yet one discovered. There is no justice in illness.
"Just because we as doctors study illness does not make us immune to it. I have experienced both sides of the coin. I had graduated from my GP training scheme six weeks earlier and was excited to embark on the next chapter of my medical career. However, that moment in the 'quiet, comfortable, private setting' changed my trajectory forever. I veered suddenly onto an unexpected path."
"I would advise GPs that next time a patient comes in to you for what turns out to be reassurance, don't see it as a waste of anyone's time. It is time spent wisely and can be therapeutic."
The Irish College of General Practitioners offered its condolences to the McAnallen family.
Dr Andrée Rochfort said: "She showed leadership and a positive attitude to the challenges facing young GPs today.
"Her article was so influential - touching the hearts of so many people, GPs and practice staff - that she was invited to have it posted on the website irishhealth.com, which meant that her story reached a public audience too.
"Sarah's article had two key messages from her personal experience of being a doctor with a serious illness: that being breast aware can help everyone, male and female, and secondly that there is no justice with illness."
A Just Giving page has been set up in Sarah's memory to raise funds for the Friends of the Cancer Centre.
To donate to the Friends of the Cancer Centre, visit www.justgiving.com/sarahmcanallen.