Breast cancer has run in my family for generations, I have 3 aunties and 2 cousins who have all been diagnosed however, as my immediate family – my Mum, my Grandmother and my sister had been fine I was quietly confident and reassured I would be too.
Given my family history I initially wanted to do genetic testing, but my sister was hesitating to come along and I was too scared to go alone so I put the idea on the backburner. I also had a 2year old toddler running around the house so it wasn’t exactly the most convenient time.
One day whilst brushing my hair I unexpectedly felt a large lump on my right breast, it was easily 4cms and felt quite heavy. Even though I had no other symptoms or pain I knew I needed to see my G.P. immediately.
The following day I went to my Doctor who despite my heightened risk didn’t seem too concerned and told me due to my age (just 26) it wasn’t something to worry about. Nevertheless, he referred me for an ultrasound and I went the following day.
It only occurred to me that something might be wrong when during the ultrasound the Radiologist brought in another Doctor who quietly uttered “something is wrong here”.
She also mentioned that I had a highly suspicious legion and they immediately wanted me to have a biopsy and mammogram done. After an anxious wait which felt like an eternity (it was only a week) I was found to have grade 3 stage 2 ERPR positive breast cancer, which is the most aggressive kind. The cancer had already spread to two of my lymph nodes and had I not found it when I did or waited to see a Doctor it’s highly likely I might not be here.
As the cancer was growing quite rapidly and aggressively my Surgeon suggested the best course of action would be to have chemotherapy immediately. I didn’t even have a chance to freeze my eggs or think about my future fertility, I headed straight to the chemo chair and after 15 gruelling rounds I thankfully finish up next week.
I am also heading in for surgery next month to complete a double mastectomy which I am confident will significantly reduce my chances of reoccurrence.
Eventually, I did have genetic testing done and it was confirmed that I had the BRCA2 mutation.
Currently, my sister doesn’t want to have the test done but I am reminding her that she doesn’t have to go through what I went through and it doesn’t have to be a death sentence.
My message to all women, young and old, is that cancer doesn’t come at a convenient time. Cancer doesn’t care about your age, your current health or family history. Be extremely vigilant with your health and if you see something or feel something no matter how small, get it checked immediately. Had I put off visiting the Doctor for even two weeks I would be in a worse position. We as women need to be more proactive and put ourselves and our health first.