What cancer were you diagnosed with?

Breast Cancer

What age were you diagnosed?


What has helped you to thrive?

Finding Winnie was the best thing that could have happened to our family. Every day I have to get up, I have to go outside, and I have to be loved by someone that doesn’t pity me. It’s hard to be sad when you have a 7-month old golden retriever excited to see you because you were in a different room. Please know, we had been debating another dog anyway, so we were in a good position to get her.  

For everything else, there was social media. I have made friends with people all over the world, all fighting different battles with cancer, and I know I am not alone. It’s more than a community, it’s a dysfunctional family. It doesn’t matter whether its ‘scanxiety’, fear of new treatment or trivial things such as ‘how to tan a bald head’, someone is there to listen and point you in the right direction. It’s not the party I wanted to be invited to, but I want everyone to know; if you get invited to this party, I’m sorry and I am here for you.

Samantha's Story

I was 27 years old when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was due to get married in 12 weeks and had only been in my job, as an intensive care nurse, for 11 months. Cancer is never convenient regardless of if you have exciting life plans or not.
I’d originally been referred to my local breast unit with what was thought to be a cyst after having an infection in my nipple piercing. In fact, the piercing was rejecting due to having a 3cm tumour directly behind it. My breast unit appointment was a blur, I went from needing the cyst draining to having a tumour with calcifications and lymph node involvement. When it was time for the ‘findings’, I’d already told the staff that I was a nurse and they explained everything in medical terms.
The next 10 days were strange, I went to work and carried on with this little voice telling me ‘what are the chances this ISN’T cancer’ but in reality, they were incredibly small. I knew I’d need surgery either way, so it wasn’t a surprise to find my appointment was with a surgeon. I don’t think he was quite prepared for us though…
Surgeon: So, it is definitely cancer.
Mum: *whispering* You can get another dog
Surgeon: …
Me: What kind of dog? No, really, I have to find my silver lining in this.
I half wish that was a joke but, that is how the conversation went. It was a coping mechanism in the sense that it relieved the tension in the room but, set me on a new mental path of how I was going to cope with being poorly, and off work, for so long. At 11 am I was told I had cancer, by 1 pm I had been pre-assessed for surgery.