Mary is sharing her story with us to help people understand the realities of secondary breast cancer, and why research like ours is so important if we’re to save lives.

Monday 14 September 2015      Guest blog
Mary's story about secondary breast cancer

Mary Huckle, 50, was diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2007, after finding a lump in her right breast. She had a mastectomy on her right breast and began chemotherapy. Six years later a swelling behind her collarbone was discovered and she was diagnosed with incurable secondary breast cancer. Mary is sharing her story with us to help people understand the realities of secondary breast cancer, and why research like ours is so important if we’re to save lives.


My name’s Mary. I’m 50 years old, married with three amazing children, and I have secondary breast cancer; the name given to breast cancer that has spread from the breast to other parts of the body.

Secondary breast cancer is incurable and I know that one day, it will probably take my life.

It’s difficult for me to write that, as I’m sure it is for you to read – but I believe that research will make sure there comes a day when no one will have to say those words ever again. That’s why I’m helping Breast Cancer Now get the word out about secondary breast cancer and their work to stop it, by appearing in their TV adverts and sharing my story with you now.

I was diagnosed in 2007 after finding a lump in my right breast.

As a personal trainer at the peak of my fitness, I was in complete shock – how could I possibly have cancer? I went through a mastectomy, lymph node removal, and months of chemotherapy. It was gruelling but I was determined my son, Robert, and daughters, Ellie and Lauren, weren’t going to grow up without their mum.

But seven years later the cancer had spread to my chest wall and collarbone area. I was told there was no cure.

All my thoughts were on the children. Robert was old enough to understand, but we tried to shield the girls as much as we could. It’s so difficult to explain that there just aren’t any answers yet. For now, my only option is to take drug after drug to keep the cancer at bay for as long as possible. But I believe Breast Cancer Now’s research will find ways to stop breast cancer spreading so no one loses their life to it.

My dream is that one day, no one will have to face secondary breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Now’s scientists are making discoveries all the time, and many are focused entirely on tackling secondary breast cancer. Dr Cristina Branco is one of them. She’s investigating how breast cancer uses healthy cells to help it spread around the body – like mine did. You can read more about her research work.

It’s research like this that gives me hope for the future. I know we’ll reach the day when no one dies from breast cancer. It probably won’t happen in time for me, but I know it will happen. It’s just a matter of time.


How you can help

To help support research like Dr Cristina Branco’s and give women like Mary hope for a future where secondary breast cancer can be stopped, please donate now