After spotting secondary symptoms, Jasmin spoke to her doctor, but they weren't concerned. Knowing that something wasn’t right, she pushed to understand what was going on. In early 2021, she was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer.
When did you finish primary treatment?
I finished my treatment for primary breast cancer in early 2020. Before the diagnosis, I had been so excited to begin a new chapter. I moved in with my boyfriend in 2019, ready to start my new job at Burberry, London, and 3 days later, I got the news.
After primary breast cancer I was excited to get on with everything. But I started getting symptoms and was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer in 2021. The breast cancer cells had spread to my spine and liver.
After primary breast cancer, were you told to look out for signs of secondary?
It was only mentioned to me when I was put on the hormone therapy, Tamoxifen, by my oncologist. They told me that secondary was unlikely, but that I should look out for the symptom of pain in my bones. I needed scans every 6 months to check things through, and my first was clear.
What symptoms did you notice early on, and did you think these could be secondary?
New Year, new goals, I set myself a target of a few 3k runs each week. But at that time, I started getting extreme pains around the bottom of my ribcage and right shoulder, which worried me after knowing the symptoms.
I spoke to my oncologist, but they weren’t concerned. And my next scan wasn’t till April, so I booked to see a physiotherapist instead. The pain started to intensify and I knew something wasn’t right, so I pushed to bring my MRI scan forward, and it picked up secondary breast cancer in March 2021.
How has your secondary diagnosis affected day-to-day life?
My secondary diagnosis left me fearful of my future. It took me 6 weeks to get hold of my new reality.
Through my own reading, research, and my determination to live well, I put a positive spin on my situation. I completed some brilliant health and wellbeing courses, and a nutritionist helped me fuel my body with goodness and a strong immune system.
Secondary breast cancer can come with all sorts of challenges. One of my hardest has been knowing I won’t be able to have children of my own.
What would your advice be to someone after primary treatment?
My advice would be to learn to trust your body and what it's telling you. If you have any new symptoms, get them checked out, be persistent, and know that you’re always entitled to a second opinion.
Jasmin’s story shows the importance of understanding your body, the symptoms, and when something isn’t right. Knowing what to look out for could lead to quicker diagnoses and treatment, hugely impacting quality of life.
Learn the signs of secondary breast cancer.