PUBLISHED ON: 23 November 2021

Amy’s diagnosis came as a massive shock, and she struggled with the side effects of treatment. Now, two years on, she’s well enough to take a break from treatment and try for a baby.  

Amy, her eight-year-old son, and her husband, who have all shaved their heads.

Nobody expects to get cancer at 25 

In April 2019, I went to my GP after finding a lump. The doctor said it was unlikely to be cancer due to my age and no family history of breast cancer, but she referred me to the breast clinic anyway. 

I was really anxious about it. I didn’t know what to tell my eight-year-old son. 

Within a matter of weeks, I was at the clinic for various scans and biopsies. In May, I was called back to the hospital with my mother and husband, at which point I was given the dreaded news that no 25-year-old wants to hear. I had stage 2, grade 3 ER+ HER2+ breast cancer. 

Everything happened so quickly from there. I had two surgeries, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and hormone therapy before being put on tamoxifen for 10 years. 

I worried I would never recover from the side effects

I was on FEC chemotherapy, which made me tired, dizzy and nauseous. I would be ok straight after treatment, but hours later I would feel like a completely different person. I was bed-bound for about a week after my first session and couldn’t do any of my usual day-to-day activities. I could barely even go down the stairs. 

In the second week, I was able to make it down and watch television, but I couldn’t leave the house due to my white blood count dropping. I also wasn’t allowed to have anyone in the house in case they brought in anything that could cause me an infection. 

At that point, I thought I’d always feel poorly. I worried I’d never come out the other side. However, my family gave me the love and support I needed to get through it. My husband was a godsend throughout it all, and my mam and dad would help with housework and cook me dinner on my bad days. 

I used to read through the story section of the Breast Cancer Now website to find other women who had the same diagnosis as me. I found reassurance and advice from their stories, which helped a lot - it showed me that there was light at the tunnel after all. 

Now, I am actually taking a break from my tamoxifen in order to try for a baby! 

IVF treatment would have been too risky for me 

I was offered the choice to freeze my eggs before I started chemotherapy, but when I went to the appointment they said they would need to give me hormones which I was concerned about as the breast cancer was ER+. Instead, I went on something called Zoladex, which works to shut down the ovaries with the aim of stopping them being damaged by chemotherapy.  

Before coming off tamoxifen, I sought advice from my oncologist and breast cancer nurse. They said they’d usually suggest coming off tamoxifen after about two years to try for a baby, but, as I had been on it for a year and five months, an extra half a year wouldn’t make that much of a difference. 

Despite all the treatment I went through, my periods have returned, so hopefully I will be able to conceive. 

There is so much support out there 

Going through breast cancer is a scary time, but there is help everywhere you turn.  

Breast Cancer Now offers support over the phone and via email, but there are also Facebook groups you can join to speak with other people in the same situation as you. I joined a group for young women with a similar diagnosis to me, and when I needed support or advice I would turn to them. It was great to have people who could relate to what I was going through. 

My diagnosis has made me even stronger than before, and I have more of an appreciation for life. I now take every day as a bonus, as I realise I can never know what is around the corner.  

And remember: if you notice anything unusual about your breasts, please get it checked out! 

 

If you have questions about breast cancer treatment and fertility, you can always call our Helpline on 0808 800 6000. You can also find more details on our information page.

Fertility and breast cancer information