A SCOTTISH Government minister has spoken about her experience going through cancer treatment and urged all Scots not to delay their screening appointments. 

Christina McKelvie was diagnosed with breast cancer in January and underwent an operation just weeks later.

The Minister for Equalities and Older People has now completed her treatment and is preparing to return to work at Holyrood in a few weeks.

McKelvie paid tribute to the NHS on World Cancer Day.

"The health service pick you up and carry you through and I could not fault any step in my treatment programme," she told Radio Borders News.

"Any questions I had, any concerns I had - knowing it was all in safe hands was very helpful at a time in your life when you're facing your mortality, and you're wondering what's going to happen to yourself and your family."

She added: "My first post-50 mammogram, that picked up this, was December 30. 

“I got a letter maybe three weeks later to come in the next week, and then my first surgery was March 2. You can see how quickly the process kicks in.

"It is is incredibly important that if you feel a lump or a bump that you phone up and go for a check-up. I didn't feel anything."

For more than ten years, McKelvie was a champion for breast cancer charity Wear It Pink in the Scottish Parliament.

She added: "That's what I would encourage people to do. Don't be afraid. It's not sore or anything that will cause you anything real discomfort.

"But knowing that you are clear will male you feel really secure.

"And knowing if they do pick something up, they are picking something up as early as possible, and getting that treatment plan into train as quickly as possible as well."

McKelvie announced in February that she would be stepping aside from her role as minister for a then undisclosed medical condition.

She added: "I think I'll focus on the positives of getting back through that door, and knowing there'll be smiles, hugs and tears - usually from me. It's not the worry about stepping back in but the welcome I'll get, and I will give other people, because I'm desperate to see them again.

"I love hugs. And during this whole process that's been difficult because of Covid I've have to protect myself. But I'm now quadruple vaccinated so I will be looking for some proper hugging from some of my pals, because it's been a long time.”