Michelle Dockery: Downton Abbey star’s ‘baffling’ loss of first fiancé to cancer – signs

Michelle Dockery: Downton Abbey star’s ‘baffling’ loss of first fiancé to cancer – signs

Downton Abbey Star Michelle Dockery Says Final Goodbye to Late Fiance

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The public relations director Dineen passed away in an Irish hospice which specialises in palliative care, after being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. A devastating thing to go through, when opening up about the ordeal, Dockery revealed that what made it even harder for her personally was the “parallels with Mary,” after the fictional character lost her husband Matthew. Although, unlike Mary and Matthew, Dockery and Dineen were not married, the actress said she considered herself a widow as the pair were “married at heart”.

When first speaking about her heartbreaking loss, Dockery shared: “I never lost hope. No. I’m not exaggerating when I say that John did not complain once, never, not once, and that gave us strength.

“It’s what keeps you going, that positivity – to never lose that hope for a miracle. I couldn’t have done it any other way.

“We were engaged, and married at heart, and so I do consider myself a widow.”

In order to try and deal with her grief, she threw herself into work and also planned to take some time off to come to terms with her loss and perhaps go travelling.

She added: “One of the difficult things at the time was the parallels with Mary.

“It was just baffling, and still is to me, that my character’s storyline was so similar.”

Although it was never confirmed what specific type of cancer Dineen sadly lost his life to, it is important for individuals to be aware of specific signs and symptoms that could indicate they have cancer.

The NHS explains that cancer is a condition that develops due to cells in a specific part of the body growing and reproducing uncontrollably. These abnormal cells then begin to invade and destroy surrounding healthy tissue including organs.

Shockingly one in two people will develop some form of cancer during their lifetime. In the UK, the four most common types of cancer are:

  • Breast cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Bowel cancer.

However, there are over 200 different types of cancer, each which can be diagnosed and treated in particular ways according to the individual case.

Typically, changes to your body’s normal processes or unusual, unexplained symptoms can sometimes indicate an early sign of cancer. However, the American Cancer Society explains the key differences between a sign and a symptom.

It states that a sign, such as fever or bleeding, can be seen or measured by someone else, whereas a symptom, such as pain or fatigue, is felt or noticed by the person who has it. Crucially, both signs and symptoms of cancer depend on a number of factors including where the cancer is, how big it is, and how much it affects nearby organs or tissues.

If a cancer has spread (metastasized), signs or symptoms may appear in different parts of the body.

The most general cancer symptoms to spot include:

  • Unexplained pain or ache – pain is one way our bodies tell us that something is wrong. As we get older, it‘s more common to experience aches and pains. But unexplained pain could be a sign of something more serious.
  • Very heavy night sweat – sweating at night can be caused by infections or it can be a side effect of certain medications. It’s also often experienced by women around the time of the menopause. But very heavy, drenching night sweats can also be a sign of cancer.
  • Unexplained weight loss – small weight changes over time are quite normal, but if you lose a noticeable amount of weight without trying to, tell your doctor.
  • Unusual lump or swelling anywhere – persistent lumps or swelling in any part of your body should be taken seriously. That includes any lumps in the neck, armpit, stomach, groin, chest, breast or testicle.
  • Fatigue – there are lots of reasons you may feel more tired than usual, particularly if you’re going through a stressful event, or having troubles sleeping. But if you’re feeling tired for no clear reason, it could be a sign that something is wrong – speak to your doctor.

However, there are also factors that affect the skin, an individual’s voice and eating, that if noticed, should be checked out by a doctor as soon as possible.

For the most common type of cancer in the UK – breast cancer – which affects around 55,500 women and around 370 men in the UK each year, the most common symptom is a new lump in the breast or armpit.

Although most breast lumps are not cancer, any new lump should be checked by your doctor. Lumps that are not cancerous are known as benign lumps, and can be caused by the following:

  • Areas of normal lumpiness that is more obvious just before a period
  • Cysts – sacs of fluid in the breast tissue, which are quite common
  • Fibroadenoma – a collection of fibrous glandular tissue (these are common in younger women, for example under 30).

In addition to a lump or change to the breast, other common signs of breast cancer for both men and women to be aware of includes skin changes, fluid leaking from the nipple and a change of the position of the nipple.

Although there is no certain way to reduce your risk of cancer, the NHS advises that individuals should follow these lifestyle habits in order to try and protect themselves from the deadly condition:

  • Not smoking
  • Healthy eating
  • Exercising regularly.

Since the loss of her fiancé Dineen, Dockery has found love again with the brother of Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Jasper. The pair confirmed their engagement earlier this year, seven years after the loss of her first fiancé.

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