GET SUPPORT GET CONNECTED Your Voices Beth What cancer were you diagnosed with? Stage 3 oestrogen positive breast cancer What age were you diagnosed? 31 What has helped you to thrive? My friends, family and work have been amazing. I am so blessed. It’s hard initially telling people, because there is no precedent for it but I found talking about it and telling people helpful as it made me feel more in control. I will be 32 when I finish treatment. This whole experience has made me think so much about the importance of checking your boobs regularly and knowing if there are any changes. It has made me determined to raise awareness, early detection makes the cancer more treatable. I wish I had understood the importance of checking regularly and if telling my story helps remind others to check their breasts then it is worth telling. I really can’t emphasise enough the necessity of people of all ages checking regularly as cancer doesn’t care how old you are. Beth's Story I was diagnosed with stage three, oestrogen positive breast cancer at 31 years old. I have no previous family history and my only symptom was a lump in my breast. Before this point I never checked my breasts for changes/ lumps, I knew breast cancer happened but I was under the impression it happened to other people... older people, and not something I needed to worry about at 31. Since my first initial GP appointment and subsequent referral for assessment and ultra scan my life has been flipped upside down. On the 2nd of August 2020 I was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer. I remember walking in and being met by a consultant and specialist breast care nurse and while I led down to be examined, I remember just staring up to the ceiling repeating to myself “I have cancer”. It felt so alien and far away from my every day life. I remember being so frustrated that I hadn’t noticed this large lump sooner as I am a nurse, I remember thinking I should have been more on it. I have since had a full mastectomy and lymph node clearance. 15 lymph nodes were confirmed as cancerous and I had multiple tumours in my breast that went right up to my chest wall. Totalling more than 5cm. As chemotherapy can cause infertility I was referred to have my eggs harvested and frozen. Which I am so thankful to the NHS for, the potential infertility for me almost hurt more than the cancer. I haven’t had children yet and I didn’t want that option taken away from me. Cancer is already taking my time and likely my hair, it’s not having my future children too! My next steps are chemotherapy and then radiotherapy, which I will be starting in the next two weeks. My chemotherapy looks to be just under 6 months and I must admit it is a scary prospect, especially in covid times but one that has to be done.