After her diagnosis, Bex just wanted to speak to someone who understood. She decided to be that person for others, by volunteering with our support service, Someone Like Me. You can help us continue our life-changing support, like Someone Like Me, and our life-saving research, by making a donation today.
Can you tell us about your diagnosis?
I was diagnosed with breast cancer 2 years ago, when I was 36. My children were 2 and 4 at the time, too young to understand the word ‘cancer,’ so I just said, ‘I’ve got a poorly booby and a naughty lump in there, but the medicine is going to get rid of it.’
I’d found the lump when I was in the bath. It felt so alien and horrible. So, when the doctor told me I had triple negative breast cancer, a part of me wasn’t surprised. But when the surgeon said, 'We’ll do chemotherapy, an operation and radiotherapy, and hopefully get you 5 years,' I couldn’t take it in. 5 years wasn’t enough - I was scared my babies wouldn’t remember me. I never believed I’d feel safe, positive, or able to look forward again.
How did you cope with your diagnosis?
Luckily, I met my friend Sarah in the chemo suite, who helped me through it. It was so comforting to have someone who knew how I felt, and we shared many tips. But I really needed someone when I was first diagnosed who’d been through it all and could reassure me. My friends and family all obviously told me, ‘You’ll be okay,’ but they didn’t know that.
So, when I heard about Someone Like Me, I jumped at the chance to volunteer and be that person for someone else. I didn’t want anyone else to feel alone and overwhelmed. I wanted to tell people - I'm ok and you will be too.
What is Someone Like Me?
It matches people with a trained volunteer with a similar breast cancer experience. We talk about anything they want to, and they can ask me anything. Often, they tell me about feelings they’re finding it hard to cope with.
And they tell me how much it means to speak to someone who was there a few years ago, but is now out the other side.
Why are our services, like Someone Like Me, so important?
Breast Cancer Now supports people through all parts of their diagnosis and treatment. It has a helpline people can ring, to speak to a trained nurse. Someone Like Me supports people with emotional and psychological worries, and its Moving Forward course helps people look to the future.
They're all so important, so people don't need to feel alone, scared, or lost, like I did. But to keep them going we need your support. Any gift you give could make a big difference to someone affected by breast cancer, who might feel overwhelmed or alone.
Do you have any other advice for anyone reading your story?
Trust your body and your instincts. Sadly, you’re never too young to be affected by breast cancer, so don’t let anyone tell you that. Check your breasts every month, and if you find a change or concern, get it checked out as soon as possible. Don’t wait. Early detection saved my life.