After he discovered her stage 3 breast cancer, a cancer survivor praised her ‘best friend Labrador’ for saving her life.

Anna Neary (46), a mother-of-two from Wakefield in Yorkshire said that Harvey, eight years old, would make her ‘get angry’ For six weeks she pawed persistently at her right breast, refusing to let go of her for fear that she would find two lumps there. 

Anna was found to be suffering from stage 1 breast cancer. It had developed to her lymph nodes after Harvey’s initial symptoms. 

The mother-of-two has since undergone three years of treatments, including chemotherapy and a mastectomy, during which medics discovered an aggressive 5.5cm tumour which advanced the diagnosis to stage three.

Harvey is now her hero, and she says that he saved her from certain death. It could have been different without him.

Anna Neary, from Yorkshire, with her Labrador, Harvey, eight, who persistently pawed at her right breast for six weeks before doctors diagnosed her with stage three breast cancer

Anna Neary (from Yorkshire) with Harvey, her Labrador. Harvey, aged eight, persistently peed on Anna’s right breast until doctors discovered she had stage 3 breast cancer.

After Harvey sniffed out the disease in November 2018, she had a mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy to remove the breast after medics discovered an aggressive 5.5cm tumour

Harvey discovered the cancer in November 2018. She had to have a mastectomy and chemotherapy. Radiotherapy was also used after Harvey’s diagnosis.

Harvey was Harvey’s support worker and the specialist said she does not regularly examine her breasts. 

Anna stated, “Harvey saw me at my worst and best. He’s my best friend. 

“We share such a strong bond that I believe is the reason he can sense it.” Although he thinks that he is a lapdog, he is massive.

She explained how he ‘sensed’ something was wrong, explaining: ‘He’d sit on my knee anyway but he was pawing at my right breast and I’d get cross with him so he’d just lay his head there.

Anna insists that Harvey saved her life as medics said that if the tumour had been discovered any later, it's likely she wouldn't have survived

Harvey has seen Anna 'at my best and my worst, he is my best friend', and the pair have 'such a good bond' which is why she thinks he sensed it

Harvey is Anna’s savior, as doctors said she would have died if her tumour hadn’t been found earlier.

Anna is now back to work after taking three years off to recover, thanks to the early diagnosis

Anna has returned to work three years after she was unable to fully recover. Thanks to an early diagnosis, Anna is now fully back.


Dogs are sensitive to smell, and they can sense volatile organic compounds. These substances may have been released in the early stages for many types of cancer including colorectal, ovarian, and lung.

Scientists have found that pooches are capable of distinguishing between tissue and blood samples from patients with ovarian cancer and those donated by healthy individuals. They can also pick up tiny amounts VOCs.

Dogs can also detect the presence of prostate cancer in urine from men, and breast or lung cancers in patients’ breaths. Studies show this.

Dogs may attempt to warn their owners if they detect this by paying more attention or sniffing them. They might also try to comfort them by gently licking or lying beside them.

A person may notice a change in behavior from their dog, and it is worth checking for signs of cancer, like pain or fatigue.

Experts say specially-trained dogs may be able to help patients with ovarian carcinoma. This is a rare form of cancer that has no screening and can only be diagnosed after it becomes advanced.

“He would not leave me alone. When I was going to the toilet, he would come, then when I came back, he’d place his head on my breast.

It was six weeks of constant effort. He was persistent.

“I felt that he was trying tell me something was wrong, so I checked my breasts. There were two lumps.

“I thought, “What the heck is this?” and I went to see the doctor.

“They told me that if they didn’t let me go when I did, it might have been too late for me to make it.” I owe Harvey my life.’

Anna had a mastectomy, 12 rounds of chemotherapy and 16 rounds radiotherapy. 

Harvey and Anna’s relationship grew stronger when the pet helped Anna through her treatment.

Anna stated, “I was shocked.” “I didn’t realize what was about to happen.”

Harvey stood by me throughout the entire process of my chemotherapy. 

“I took three years off from work, so we spent lots of time just us.”

Anna got the news in January 2020 that she had successfully beaten cancer after undergoing a mastectomy, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy.

She insisted Harvey saved her life, as doctors said it was likely that she would have died if she had discovered the tumor later.

Anna, who was forced to miss three years of work due to a diagnosis early in her illness is now back at work.

She stated that it was tough to return to work after he became so familiar with me.

“I don’t feel fully myself yet, but my cancer has stopped so I am grateful.” 

Her hormone therapy will be required for 10 years until she is given the all-clear. 

The specialist support worker admits she doesn't regularly check her breasts and probably would have never found the lumps if it wasn't for Harvey. Anna pictured following her chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment

Eight-year-old Harvey had refused to leave his owner's side, even when she told him off, until she discovered two cancerous lumps in the same spot. Anna pictured trying on a wig after losing her hair to chemotherapy

Harvey, a specialist support worker for Anna, admitted that she does not regularly inspect her breasts. She also said that Harvey would never have found any lumps in her breasts. Anna after receiving her radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatments

Anna said: 'I felt like he was trying to tell me there was something wrong so I decided to check my breasts and found two lumps'

Anna stated that he felt like a prophet telling her to listen to me. So, she decided to examine herself and discovered two lumps.

The mother-of-two says her daughters, Emily, 25, and Morgan, 19, spoil Harvey to show their gratitude for saving their mum's life

According to the mother-of-2, her daughters Morgan (19 years old) and Emily (25 year-old), spoil Harvey in their thanksgiving for their mom’s saving life.

To show her gratitude, she said that Morgan (19 years old) and Emily (25 year-old), spoil Harvey.

Anna said, “My daughters love him so very much. They are so thankful.

“I have always been kind to him, but we are so grateful. 

“He’s an incredible and intelligent dog. It’s a great feeling. 

Harvey and Anna's bond grew stronger as the pet supported her through treatment, she says: 'Harvey was there for me the whole way'

Anna said Harvey would sit on her knee and paw at her right breast and even when she got cross with him, he would still lay his head there

Anna claimed Harvey would lie on Anna’s right breast with his paw against her left breast.


Breast cancer, which is one of most prevalent cancers worldwide, affects approximately 2,000,000 women annually.

One of the most prevalent cancers worldwide is breast cancer. There are over 55,000 cases of breast cancer in Britain each year. The disease also claims 11500 lives every year. The disease kills around 40,000 and affects 266,000 Americans each year. It is not easy to understand what it is and how it can be managed.

What’s breast cancer?

A cancerous cell in breast cancer is caused by a tumor that develops within the lining of one of the breasts.

It is a form of breast cancer that has spread to the surrounding tissue. It is possible to be diagnosed as ‘carcinoma-in situ’ if the cancer cells are not spread beyond the duct or lymph nodes.

Breast cancer is most common in older women, but it can also affect younger women. Although breast cancer is uncommon in men, it can occur in women.

The stage refers to how large the cancer has become and how far it has spread. The earliest stage is Stage 1, while stage 4 indicates that the cancer has spread.

Low, which indicates slow growth, is the highest grade of cancerous cells. High, however, means fast growth. The likelihood of high grade cancers returning after treatment is higher.

Breast cancer: What are the causes?

An abnormal cell can cause a cancerous tumour. It is not known why cancerous cells develop. Some cells may be affected by something that alters or damages their genes. The cell becomes abnormal, and can multiply “out of control”.

Breast cancer may develop without apparent cause, but there are risk factors such as genetics that could increase your chances of getting it.

How can I tell if my breast cancer is developing?

Although painless breast lumps can be a sign of cancer, they are often benign and not malignant. 

Breast cancer spreads first to the lymph nodes located in the armpit. You will notice a swelling and lump around your armpit.

What is the best way to diagnose breast cancer?

  • Initial evaluation: The doctor will examine the breasts, armpits, and stomach. You may also be offered tests like a mammogram or a special xray to examine the breasts. This can help you determine if there are any cancerous cells.
  • Biopsy is the process of removing a tiny amount of tissue from an area of the body. To look for any abnormalities, the sample is taken under the microscope. It can be confirmed or ruled out for cancer.

Further tests might be required if breast cancer is confirmed. You may need blood tests or an ultrasound of your liver.

How can breast cancer be treated?

There are many treatment options available, including surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Sometimes, a combination of several of these treatment options is used.

  • Surgery: Breast-conserving or removal of affected breast depending upon the extent of the cancer.
  • Radiotherapy is the use of high-energy beams radiation to treat cancerous tissue. These radiations kill cancer cells or stop them from growing. This is used primarily in conjunction with surgery.
  • Anti-cancer chemotherapy: This is a treatment for cancer that uses anticancer drugs to kill or slow down the growth of cancer cells.
  • Hormone therapies: Breast cancers that are caused by the estrogen ‘female hormone’ oestrogen can cause them to multiply and divide. Breast cancer patients often receive treatments that reduce or stop the effects of hormones.

What is the success rate of treatment?

If the cancer hasn’t spread, it is likely to be diagnosed early. A good option is to have a tumor removed surgically as soon as possible.

Women between 50-70 years old can have routine mammography to detect breast cancer earlier.

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