“I sat in my classroom teaching teenagers about the signs and symptoms of cancer in young people without actually knowing at the time that I would soon develop cancer.”
Becki was 24 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. As a teacher in the UK, she discussed health every day with her students, sometimes even cancer specifically. But when it came to her own wellness, Becki was hesitant to seek help.
“I discovered a lump on my breast. I thought I was too young to have breast cancer and when I looked up the signs and symptoms of breast cancer they varied to mine and so I thought nothing of it,” Becki said.
The 24-year-old assumed that the lump was nothing more than a swollen gland and left it unchecked for six to seven months. When a pop-up breast clinic appeared in her town, she decided to get it looked at. The doctor performed an exam and believed it to be benign. They decided to send her to her general practitioner, who then sent her to her local hospital’s breast clinic. After several physical exams, an ultrasound, a biopsy, and two weeks of waiting, Becki received a phone call.
“They asked me to come in the following day for the results. Despite hearing from them earlier than we thought, I still wasn’t too worried. My boyfriend and I went in the next morning, all dressed for work, prepared to head straight in after my appointment but what we heard changed everything.”
Becki talks about how she and her boyfriend were completely shocked by the news. She also mentions being overcome with the fear of losing her long, brown hair, which became a reality after she completed six cycles of chemotherapy.
Now, Becki reflects on her life before diagnosis. She admits she was naïve to the long-term side effects, such as potential infertility, and that she didn’t even know people her age could get breast cancer. She also notes that, looking back, she remembers having other subtle and persistent health changes, “In hindsight, at the time I was absolutely exhausted and could not put my finger on what was wrong—it is so important to listen to your body.”
After going through this experience, with radiotherapy and an operation still in her future, Becki urges others to seek medical advice if they notice a change in their health.
Early detection can make a world of difference when it comes to a cancer diagnosis.
- discovered a lump in breast