Sonia was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 28. She shares how her diagnosis changed how she viewed her body and found confidence through experimenting with her style.
I knew in my gut it was breast cancer
I was on holiday in New York when I found my lump. I rolled over in bed and the side of my arm rubbed against the side of my breast.
I immediately started crying. I knew in my gut what it was.
I can’t even describe how I felt when they told me it was breast cancer. It was so surreal. I was only 28.
My mum had passed away from secondary breast cancer when I was 14, so I immediately started thinking about her and panicking.
I never used to check my breasts
I never used to check my breasts. I had the opportunity to have genetic testing, but I refused because I didn't want to think about it at the time. I was only around 20 years old and completely dismissed the idea and thought I'd get tested later on in life.
After I was diagnosed, I went through with genetic testing. The results came back that I had the BRCA2 gene which meant I had a high risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
They gave me the option of having a bilateral mastectomy to help reduce my risk of cancer coming back. I couldn’t imagine having to go through treatment again, so I decided to go ahead with the surgery.
Cancer’s given me a different type of confidence
It’s been hard to come to terms with all my scars. I have scars on my hips, breasts and arm from my surgery. Weirdly, it has given me more confidence.
Before my diagnosis I was very insecure. I used to always worry about my weight and pick at little things about myself. Now I look back at pictures and think, what was I thinking?
Going through the side effects of treatment and losing your hair, eyebrows, having your breasts removed and scarring means that now I’ve start to appreciate myself for who I am rather than think about how I can be better.
As much as cancer stripped me of everything, it’s given me a type of confidence in myself I’ve never had before.
Clothes and makeup made me feel feminine again
During treatment, you’re having all your feminine features taken away. I used to wear wigs, fill in my brows and brighten up my face with lipstick and clothes.
It helped make me feel more confident. I’d buy fashionable turbans and wear them to my appointments. I remember at Christmas I wore a glittery silver one. It just used to make me feel more feminine.
It’s nice to relate to people going through the same thing
It’s been great to be a part of this campaign. Breast Cancer Now’s helped me a lot. I use the Becca app and listen to podcasts and read the blogs and stories.
It’s nice to be able to relate to people going through the same thing as you and hearing from so many different women.
I loved having my hair and makeup done at the Fashion Targets Breast Cancer shoot – I got to wear amazing clothes and encourage everybody else to wear something important to help support this amazing charity.
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 with River Island 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.