Frances found Breast Cancer Care's secondary services a great support
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, 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.”
Frances turned to Breast Cancer Care, using the website and publications for information as well Breast Cancer Care’s Ask the Nurse service.
She added: "After that meeting where I was given my secondaries diagnosis I just did not know what to do. The doctor said things like ‘inoperable’ and ‘no cure’ – I didn’t know what it all meant and I was very, very afraid. But the Ask the Nurse service really helped me. It guided me through what my new diagnosis meant and assured me that there were options. The secondary breast cancer could be managed and treated – yes not cured – but certainly hope was assured. They urged me to get in touch with my secondary breast cancer nurse at my hospital – so I did and she was absolutely wonderful.
“When you are given devastating news, your brain cannot process what it is being told. And just minutes later, after you have left the doctors surgery, you have so many questions – and these can be important life changing questions. Breast Cancer Care has been a place for me to have these questions answered. When I was put on a trial drug, I sought information about it from Breast Cancer Care. When I fell to pieces after my chemo finished, I sought help from Breast Cancer Care. I cannot begin to tell you how I would have managed my breast cancer diagnosis without Breast Cancer Care by my side – to support me and my family. Having a specialist charity with me on this horrific journey has been useful beyond measure.”