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Tracey Crouch, MP for Chatham and Aylesford, shares her story during Breast Cancer Awareness Month

MP Tracey Crouch is rocking the skinhead look.

With chemotherapy taking its toll, the 45-year-old mum decided to shave her head.

MP Tracey Crouch has spoken about her cancer treatment
MP Tracey Crouch has spoken about her cancer treatment

And impressed with her new look, she's even thinking of buying some Doc Martens to complete the image.

Diagnosed with breast cancer in June, and in the middle of gruelling chemotherapy, the Chatham and Aylesford MP has maintained her sense of humour.

Now she is encouraging other women to face up to a disease which claims the lives of 11,500 a year in the UK and not be "squeamish" about getting checked.

At a recent visit to a shopping centre she agreed to have a photograph taken with somebody who recognised her despite her shorn locks – and on seeing the end result remarked "I looked like I'd robbed the place".

With October being National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, she is using her high-profile role to deliver a serious message – regularly check your breasts and don't put off seeking medical attention.

Tracey Crouch and her sister Carrie
Tracey Crouch and her sister Carrie

She noticed a lump the size of 33 millimetres in her right breast in June and went to the doctors the following day.

She paid to go to Kims private hospital near Maidstone and was given a mammogram, ultrasound scan and biopsy the same day which confirmed her worst nightmare.

Tracey said: "I was lucky because I paid, but I firmly believe this should be standard to everyone.

"Otherwise, I would have to wait six weeks for results and it's the waiting that is the terrifying bit."

From then on she was under the NHS care of Maidstone Hospital's top-class oncology department.

Tracey Crouch speaking in parliament
Tracey Crouch speaking in parliament

She said: "I told them not to treat me any differently from any other chemo patient. There was a real community spirit and the nurses were wonderful. We keep in contact with our own WhatsApp group."

Tracey is calling for the the screening age to be lowered from 50 to 40 and making more medical professionals aware of the increasing number of younger women developing the disease.

She had the lump removed on July 24, her birthday, and has just completed two chemo sessions out of eight.

Apart from nausea and fatigue, she is coping well.

She said: "When they said I would get tired, I just thought I am a politician with a four-year-old, I'm always tired."

Tracey Crouch MP -working from home
Tracey Crouch MP -working from home

Tracey has not told son Freddie she has cancer and has merely said "mummy's got a poorly booby".

She said: "He doesn't need to know, he has seen my bruising and knows that's the case."

The Tory, who lives in Aylesford with partner Steve Ladner, a radio presenter, said: "As an MP, I have always been involved in Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but obviously this year it's more personal.

"I don't want to be known as the politician who has or had cancer, but I do have a platform, so why not use it?"

Like many of her colleagues, as a vulnerable person, the self-confessed workaholic is unable to travel to parliament at the moment and conducts her constituency and Westminster business on email and on Zoom meetings.

Tracey Crouch when she was re-elected as MP for Chatham and Aylesford last December
Tracey Crouch when she was re-elected as MP for Chatham and Aylesford last December

Tracey had her long hair cut before starting treatment and, when it started to fall out, decided to go for the full shave.

Her sister Carrie, 42, a primary school teacher from Lenham , performed the honours and also underwent the chop herself in solidarity.

The former Sports Minister added: "To be honest, I quite like it, I find it empowering."

Although, that said, she has got a few woolly beanies in store for when the weather turns colder.

Read more: All the latest news from Medway

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