Tickled Pink - Stories

Tickled Pink has helped to fund Breast Cancer Care’s services for women and men living with a diagnosis of secondary breast cancer. Their helpline, ‘Living with Secondary Breast Cancer’ courses, online support and publications (all free of charge) provide expert support at any time.

Secondary breast cancer, where breast cancer cells have spread to another part of the body, is incurable but can be treated, sometimes for years.

Frances

Frances, 48, from Bookham, found Breast Cancer Care’s secondary services a great support after her secondary diagnosis in October 2009.

She said: “I came to the Living with Secondary Breast Cancer group at Breast Cancer Care’s offices in London and it was amazing meeting up with people who had secondary breast cancer too. There was such a range there, people who had been living with it for some time, people who, like me, had just been diagnosed. It ran over two days and was very supportive as everyone was so positive.”

Frances, who is mum to twin boys, Oliver and Elliot, now 14, and two older stepsons, Michael and Nick, was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer ten years after her initial primary diagnosis.

She said: “I was first diagnosed when the twins were just a year old. Instead of seeing in the Millennium by celebrating with family and friends, I was at home recovering from an operation with my head stuck firmly down the toilet having undergone chemotherapy days before! At each regular check up over the ten years that followed, I gained confidence to put the breast cancer diagnosis behind me and get on with my life. But a new nightmare began in 2009 when I found another lump in the same breast. This time though it was a diagnosis of secondary breast cancer.”

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Posted in Tickled Pink - Stories on 14 February 2013
Tickled Pink - Stories

Being diagnosed with breast cancer at an early age can leave a lot of young women not only having to come to terms with having the disease but also worrying about whether or not they will be able to have children in the future. Aged only 29 Carly Gibson, who lives near Bristol, found a small lump, and was diagnosed with ER+, HER2+ breast cancer.

Carly, Lydia and Rowan

“My world was absolutely ripped apart. I was nearly 30 and I had cancer – everything was awful. I dealt with having cancer because the fear of not having any children was much worse. That seemed more hopeless than the cancer coming back.”

Carly’s doctors recommended leaving five years after being treated for breast cancer before getting pregnant to make sure it had been successful. For Carly this would mean waiting until her late 30s to have children. Doctors also recommended chemotherapy – which can affect fertility.

After discussion with her family and her doctors, Carly decided not to have chemotherapy but agreed to have extra radiotherapy. Carly met Chris Gibson in May 2005. The couple were married in October 2007 and, before their honeymoon, Carly saw her oncologist, as she wanted to start a family.

Doctors were unsure how Carly’s body would react to having a baby and were seriously concerned the cancer could come back. But Carly weighed up the risks and by the time she and Chris returned from their honeymoon, she was pregnant. Carly nervously agreed to have a mammogram soon after she gave birth to her daughter, Lydia. Thankfully, she was clear – the cancer hadn’t come back.

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Posted in Tickled Pink - Stories on 14 February 2013
Tickled Pink - Stories

Beverly Spence

Beverly Spence, 53, from Caerphilly, had breast cancer twice in four years. Beverly contacted Asda to ask if we sold specially-fitting lingerie for women who have had a mastectomy. Since then, Beverly has helped design and fit Asda’s range of post-surgery bras and swimwear.

Beverly said: “I’m absolutely thrilled that I’ve achieved what I initially set out to do – and that was to introduce a bigger range of post-surgery bras into all the Asda stores for those people who are unable to access internet sites to purchase or cannot afford the over-priced garments on sale at some other stockists.”

Beverly, who is married to Robert and has two children Michael, 29 and Laura, 19, had a lumpectomy after developing breast cancer. She responded well to chemotherapy and radiotherapy but when she went for a routine mammogram doctors found she had a new breast cancer in the same breast. Bev had a mastectomy in September 2009 and had her lymph nodes removed as a precaution.

“It was right underneath my lumpectomy scar,” says Beverly. “It was tiny, half the size of the last one. It was picked up early and didn’t need any other treatment. When I found out it was a new cancer and not a recurrence I didn’t know whether that was good news or worse news. To have had two cancers in four years – it was a shock.”

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Posted in Tickled Pink - Stories on 25 September 2012
Tickled Pink - Stories

Maria

Maria was made aware of Breast Cancer Care – one of the two charities Tickled Pink supports – when she was diagnosed with the disease in 2004.

She recommends their website as the best place for women to find support when they’re first diagnosed, and also for friends and family who are looking for more information.

Maria says: “Cancer wipes out your confidence – I didn’t expect it to but it really did happen.”

She attended a two-day younger Women’s Forum held by Breast Cancer Care for women under 40 who had been diagnosed with breast cancer. The forum in Nottingham provided advice and support sessions from doctors and other healthcare professionals, and an opportunity to meet women going through the same experience.

Maria says: “It was so helpful meeting other women – it helped me feel a lot less alone.”

One of the most positive experiences was taking part in the annual Breast Cancer Care fashion show.

“Getting out on that catwalk with 1000 people cheering, you come out on cloud nine. It really helps your strength and confidence.” Maria now volunteers and helps out at the event each year.

Maria would love to see more Breast Cancer Care projects being funded in more regions around the country to reach out to as many women as possible. “It does so much for women with breast cancer.”

Posted in Tickled Pink - Stories on 25 September 2012
Tickled Pink - Stories

Jayne Smith

Jayne, from Liverpool, provides a great example of the impact Tickled Pink can have – “If it wasn’t for Tickled Pink I wouldn’t be here,” she says. “It was because of Asda that I started to check my breasts.”

Jayne always bought Tickled Pink products at her local Asda store, and it was awareness of the messages behind the campaign that prompted her to start regularly checking her breasts.

In 2007 she found a lump and immediately went to the doctors to have it examined. Unfortunately for Jayne, she didn’t receive a proper diagnosis for at least another 18 months.

“I thought I was going to die because I knew I’d had it for 18 months to two years.” However, Jayne’s cancer was not the most aggressive form of the disease and, having undergone 12 weeks of treatment, there is now only a 5% chance that her cancer will return.

Jayne is involved with Breast Cancer Campaign, one of the two charities that Tickled Pink supports, and actively shares her experience to try to raise awareness and help other women deal with their experiences.

“If you get it early enough,” Jayne told us, “you can be okay – people need to know that.”

Posted in Tickled Pink - Stories on 25 September 2012