Three years after her primary diagnosis when she was 25, Rebecca was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer. She talks about how she told her children, and why clothes and makeup helped her cope.
I thought I was too young to get cancer
I was 25 when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had a nine-month-old daughter and my breasts hadn’t gone back to normal.
I went for a routine smear test and the nurse asked me if I knew how to check my breast. I mentioned that my breasts had changed so she sent me to a doctor straight away.
I thought I was way too young. I just thought my change was something to do with the pregnancy and my hormones. I never thought it was going to be breast cancer.
I was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer three years later
I finished my treatment in 2015. I went on trying to live a normal life and put my diagnosis to the back of my mind.
In 2018 I was feeling generally unwell, tired and nauseous. I went to my doctor think that it could be stress or anxiety. A blood test revealed that my living functioning was abnormal. After routine tests for six-eight weeks, they wanted to do an ultrasound. They noticed nodules in my liver, and I was sent for a CT scan. This was when I was told that the breast cancer cells had metastasised.
I stressed about telling my children
Obviously, a secondary breast cancer diagnosis is scary. But my children, partner and family in general keep me as positive as possible. Even though you don’t really know how long you have left you just need to enjoy it as much as you can.
I stressed a lot about telling my children. I worried more about my son who is nearly 10. My daughter is still quite young, so I was able just say to her that mummy’s poorly.
I knew I had to be as honest as possible with my son so that he didn’t come to his own conclusions or get scared. I waited until the day before my first chemotherapy and asked him if he could remember when mummy lost her hair when he was younger.
I explained that that was because of breast cancer which had come back and that was why I’d been poorly. My main fear was him asking if I was going to die, but he didn’t.
I told him what was happening, and he went back to playing his Xbox. It showed me that kids are so resilient and can take a lot in their stride.
Clothes are a simple way to feel better
I found it more difficult losing my hair the first time. Having a wig was my comfort blanket. I used to draw my eyebrows on too. It helped give me a little bit more confidence.
This time, I took it more in my stride. When it’s your hair or your life, it’s an easy decision to make, so I got the wig back out and got on with it.
Clothes and makeup are something so simple, but they can make you feel so much better and have a massive impact on how you feel. If you look good, you tend to feel good.
It helps to talk to someone who understands it
Meeting meet people who are the same age through this campaign has been great. Normally you go to hospital and you’re known as the young one or you’re the youngest one there.
I also went to the Younger Women Together event put on by Breast Cancer Now in Sheffield. It helps to talk to someone who understands how it is, and I met lots of women around my age who went through the same experiences as me.
It doesn’t matter how old you are
I wanted to take part in Fashion Targets Breast Cancer to make women aware that it doesn’t matter how old you are. Breast cancer can still affect you.
Make sure that you always check your breasts, and if you do notice anything go to your doctor straight away and get medical advice. Cancer doesn’t discriminate.
Fashion Targets Breast Cancer by Breast Cancer Now is calling on you to wear something important. To wear something that helps fund life-changing care and world-class research.
Every piece sold from our Fashion Targets Breast Cancer collection helps Breast Cancer Now to continue to be here for anyone affected by breast cancer. Now more than ever, we must do all we can to support patients and their families through whatever they’re facing.
You can help to make that happen.
Wear something important.