IT is more than three years since Beatrice - known as Blue - White finished treatment for breast cancer. But she is among those who believe patients need more support to deal with the fear of recurrence.

The 64-year-old childcare practitioner, from Glenrothes, said: "I'm a different person than I was before breast cancer. I used to think that was a cliched statement, but it's not, it's true.

"That new normal is something you have to learn to live with. There are things I could do before that I can't now, mainly because of the side effects from medication that I now have to take for 10 years.

"Then something goes wrong with your body and you have the fear, 'is that it coming back?'."

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Ms White, a mother-of-three and great-grandmother, was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer in September 2015 following a routine mammogram. It came as a shock as she had no symptoms.

The letter telling her the abnormalities had been detected in her left breast and asking her to come to the Western General in Edinburgh for further tests arrived the day before she was going on holiday to Italy.

"That marred the holiday a bit," she said. "I've always checked myself and there was nothing different, so I really was horrified when that letter came.

"I was fine during the day because I was out with my camera, I'm a photographer as well. But at night I was staying in the little apartment on my own and that's when it was just overwhelming - too much time to think."

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Within days of returning home she attended the clinic for a biopsy and additional mammogram.

The tests confirmed that she had breast cancer and her consultant arranged a lumpectomy and, from December 2015, four weeks of radiotherapy.

The treatment ended in January 2016 - the month before her great-granddaughter, Nova, was born.

"There was relief that I'd got that far," said Ms White. "But there was absolute terror of 'what am I going to do now?'. Suddenly you've gone from having appointments and checks to nothing."

More recently Ms White has had tests investigating a cough and chest pain amid fears that the cancer could have spread to her lungs.

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She said she felt anxiety about recurrence is something medics "brushed off" during her treatment.

"The response was just 'oh, don't want to worry about that'," said Ms White. "There has to be a way to educate the medical profession that that is very real for us.

"I know they're dealing with getting us through surgery and treatment, but it doesn't just stop there. Life goes on, but in a different way.

"In the statistics, they talk about survival at five years - 'more people than ever are surviving beyond five years'. But that in itself is scary to me. I don't want to survive five years, I want 25 years.

"It's about learning to live with that fear so that it doesn't drag you down and turn you into a basket case.

"That ending of treatment - what next? What do I do now? There are always going to be people who want to know.

"Yes they can look up statistics, but I think it would be really good if they could discuss how to cope with the aftermath towards the end of treatment."