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Tabby was just 26 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Unaware that it could affect someone her age, Tabby now uses her channels to help encourage others to check themselves regularly and be aware of any unusual changes.

Back in October 2020, I noticed a lump really randomly on my boob. I guess it was Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so I probably subconsciously thought to check. It was a random sharp pain one morning that really drew my attention to my boob, and that’s when I found a fairly big, solid lump. I knew that wasn’t normal for me.

After calling my boyfriend and my mum separately in tears, I was straight onto the phone to my GP and luckily got an appointment the next day. Thankfully there were no delays at all and I was seen by the breast clinic within two weeks. I had inconclusive results from my first biopsy so had to have more tests, before being told I had breast cancer. I think there were about 6 weeks between that initial appointment and being diagnosed. Being told I had breast cancer was surreal, emotional, and horrific. I can’t even describe how it felt.

I knew the basics about breast cancer, but not a lot else. I had no family history, didn’t know much about prevention, and definitely didn’t think it could affect me or anyone my age – until it did!

I initially told my family who were outside the clinic, my boyfriend, and my closest friends, before eventually opening up to friends, colleagues, and I guess the world via my blog and social media. I’ve luckily been supported by my wonderful family throughout the whole process and my treatment. I could not have done it without them and the incredible cancer community I’ve found online – they’re all so wonderful, kind and inspiring and always understand me and the weird or embarrassing side effects to treatment! Choosing to share my story is one of the best decisions I made – that, and going to my GP straight away! Writing is something I really like to do and I find it therapeutic to get my thoughts out and it’s a huge comfort in knowing that it could help others. For my mental health it’s just been so great to know that there are people out there that care and are supportive.

My treatment has been going fairly well. Chemo has been brutal in so many ways, but I’ve coped with it as best as I can. I’ll have done 7 rounds in total when I finish and I’ll still be on immunotherapy for a year, and hormone tablets for up to 10 years – fairly daunting! I’ll also be having a mastectomy after chemo finishes. I think this experience has made me realise not to fret the small stuff. It sounds cheesy, but it’s given me a massive appreciation just for life. 

I know I won’t take my health for granted ever again. You’re absolutely not invincible just because you’re in your 20s! I’m definitely more aware of anything different for my body and I’m checking myself all the time. If anything seems unusual, I’ll know and I’ll be more aware early on so I can be straight on the phone to my GP.

If I could give anyone advice, or myself if I went back in time, it would just be to take it one day at a time. Also, do not Google! Allow yourself the down days, allow yourself to cry, but do not give cancer all of your time because it doesn’t deserve it. And you WILL get through it – it’s tough, but you can do it. One thing I really want to advocate is getting it checked out! Don’t be scared, it’s probably nothing but it is always best to check it.

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