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Sarah at her 30th birthday party with a white cake and big golden balloons

I want to help other young women feel less lonely

Sarah was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 29. She tells us what it’s like to have breast cancer as a young woman and what she’s doing to raise awareness.

Can you tell us about your diagnosis?

In February 2023, I was diagnosed with triple positive breast cancer at the age of 29. It happened exactly 6 months after my wedding day and a month before my 30th birthday.

I had stage 3 grade 3 breast cancer, and I was told I’d need chemotherapy, surgery and radiotherapy.

After my doctors offered an opportunity to have fertility treatment, I had 2 rounds of egg collection. The first round was unsuccessful, but luckily the second resulted in 7 frozen embryos.

What was your treatment like?

I had 7 rounds of chemotherapy with EC and Docetaxol. I’m also undergoing immunotherapy with Phesgo which I aim to finish in August 2024. My heart function has been impacted and is still being monitored, so I’m hoping I’ll be able to complete this.

I found chemotherapy extremely emotionally taxing. I lost all of my confidence and self-worth. I lost about 60% of my hair but I kept enough to be able to have tape extensions 5 months post-chemo. This gave me most of my confidence back. To help prevent hair loss, I used the cold cap throughout my chemo and I’m a huge advocate for it.

After doctors found traces of cancer, I also had surgery to remove my lymph nodes. After 2 surgeries, I was declared cancer-free. Next was 20 sessions of radiotherapy to get rid of any remaining cancer cells.

Sarah receiving treatment in the hospital

Could you tell us more about your fertility treatment?

I was put on a hormonal treatment called Anastrazole for 10 years and I’ll be in medical menopause throughout this time. I’m still coming to terms with living with menopause and all the side effects it brings. It feels like I’ve lost 10 years of my youth, and I just want to live the life of an average 31-year-old.

My husband and I had plans to start a family last year but cancer completely derailed this for us. We're still trying to make peace with this. We must wait 2 more years before we can use our embryos with IVF treatment, and I can’t wait for that day.

How are you now?

I was told I was cancer-free in November after my second surgery, so I’m so relieved and grateful. I'm slowly building my strength and fitness levels back up. Every day I'm feeling more like myself.

I had another scare recently when I found a lump in the same breast, which thankfully turned out to be scar tissue. I’ll always live with the fear of recurrence but I’m living my life and appreciating all that I have.

How are you raising awareness about breast cancer?

I started a podcast called ‘The Perky Pair: Breast Cancer Unfiltered’ with another young woman receiving treatment at the hospital. We wanted to share our breast cancer experiences and show other young people that they aren’t alone.

We hope in doing so we can help people understand what it’s like to have treatment when everyone around you is moving on with their lives, whether they’re getting married, buying houses, having babies or achieving promotions.

I now just want to raise awareness to help others get through this and find some hope and light at the end of the tunnel.

Sarah and Charlie hosting The Perky Pair podcast

What would your advice be to other young women?

Before I was diagnosed I rarely checked my breasts I didn’t think it would happen to me and I wish I had been checking regularly. If I had been, I may have caught the cancer earlier I want to ask all women, regardless of age, to please check your breasts once a month in the shower and lying down in bed, so you learn what your breasts feel like from all angles. If you have any abnormalities, don’t hesitate to go to your GP. It really could save your life.

Signs and symptoms of breast cancer

Like Sarah says, if you notice anything unusual about your breasts, get it checked by a GP. The sooner a change is found, the more successful treatment is likely to be.

Signs and symptoms

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