Personal stories

Surviving breast cancer: refusing to take no for an answer

Posted by Guest Author on 21 April 2021

Surviving cancer is as much about catching it early and being positive about the outcome, as it is about the treatment. I am Carolann Bruce, and I am a breast cancer survivor, but only because I refused to take no for an answer.


When you hear the news, ‘You don’t have cancer. Go home and live your life,’ you’d think the relief would be overwhelming, but not for me. I had had a dream that foretold of breast cancer, and it depicted two endings. And I wanted survival. 

I had been having scary dreams for a while, but this particular dream plainly and graphically showed me as a cancer patient. It was so real that I checked myself when I woke up, and I found a lump. I had a negative mammogram, and a consultant said the lump was nothing to worry about, but I insisted on further tests. He assured me that all was fine, but I refused to budge. I believed my dream.


I’m glad stuck to my guns because the doctor was wrong. I had cancer. Most people would have accepted the diagnosis and gone away, only to find out the truth when it was too late, but I’m stubborn, I know my body, and I just knew my dream was true.

That was the start of a long and gruelling journey. I’m a qualified nurse, but even I didn’t know what to expect and, to be completely frank, the treatment took me to hell and back. I wrote my book to try to support and inspire other women facing the same as I did. It’s a candid insight with more than a smattering of humour because let’s face it, we’ve got to laugh to get through it. 


I wanted to release my book in time for World Cancer Day on 4th February to help raise awareness of this awful disease’s impact. The book lays bare what a cancer diagnosis brings, but it’s also laugh out loud funny at times, too. The publisher says: ‘With one in two people now predicted to get cancer in their lifetime, The Dream That Saved My Life is, above all, inspiring and encouraging for anyone unfortunate enough to receive that chilling diagnosis.’ Thank you, Publisher, I’ll take that!

I think my book’s main message is that, as much as we trust and admire our doctors and nurses, you must listen to your body. Don’t take everything as gospel. Question your diagnosis and treatment, and discuss everything with your consultant as well as your family. Never forget – it is your life and your body. As graphic as it is in places, The Dream That Saved My Life’ is a book every woman should read. 

Carolann Bruce

The dream that saved my life is available from Amazon

April 2021


Claire diagnosed in 2016
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