Toral was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 29, six years after she supported her mum through the disease. Toral’s business, The Urban Kitchen, supports people with optimising their health and preventing disease. In 2018, she was diagnosed with breast cancer again.
My mum and aunt have both had breast cancer
From an early age, I have always been interested in science and health. I went to medical school but when my own mother was having chemotherapy after a breast cancer diagnosis, I realised that a career as an oncologist was not for me.
I helped to care for her and wondered why the medical team were not looking at nutrition and lifestyle for prevention. Thankfully she has been all-clear now for 20 years. However, seeing my Mum and my Aunt fight the disease and the side effects of treatment made me realise that I wanted to help prevent others from going through this. I switched from medicine to study Cell Biology instead, so I could study cancer, and try to find ways to save lives.
I felt too young to lose a breast
By a cruel twist of fate, when I was 29, studying for my MSc in Nutritional Medicine specialising in cancer, I found a lump in my breast. It was breast cancer. It made no sense to me. I was under 30, committed to a healthy lifestyle and I was even training for a triathlon. It felt like my world was falling down around me – I felt too young to lose a breast.
Whilst I felt mutilated, being able to exercise and complete physical challenges helped me to love my body again. Once I got through my treatment, I became even more passionate about health and nutrition, and the impact on how they could prevent breast cancer recurrence.
The more we can educate the public and health professionals, the more we can share the pool of our resources and knowledge. Campaigns like the Take Control Now campaign will help people to have an earlier diagnosis by checking their breast and make positive lifestyle changes to help prevent all forms of cancer.
I was diagnosed with a recurrence
In September 2018, I was diagnosed with a recurrence of my original breast cancer. I found this by knowing my body and checking both breasts thoroughly every month. The old mastectomy scar didn’t feel right and I had an MRI scan which found a very tiny lump. I have had a lumpectomy and have started hormone treatment again.
I went through scans to see whether it had spread at all, which would have made it incurable. Luckily, I had caught it early enough for it not to have spread.
It was an anxiety ridden time – but with the help of people like Breast Cancer Now there will be a day when people don’t need to fear a breast cancer diagnosis at all.'
Toral is one of 11 women from across the world who are part of ghd’s Take Control Now campaign in partnership with Breast Cancer Now. The campaign features 11 women diagnosed with breast cancer under the age of 35 who are sharing their experiences to remind women to self check for signs of breast cancer.
£10 from every purchase of the Take Control Now campaign in the UK will go to Breast Cancer Now.
It's important to check your breasts regularly and see your GP if you notice a change in your breasts. Find out the signs and symptoms of breast cancer.