In 2015, just after her 50th birthday my mum discovered a lump in her breast. This was confirmed as Stage 2, Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC). Not many people realise that TNBC has no known targeted treatment unlike other gene or hormone related breast cancers, so the only way of trying to eliminate it is to throw everything at it, chemotherapy, surgery and then then radiotherapy. All treatment completed just before Christmas 2015, life returned to normal with the consultant confirming in the last meeting in May 2016 that she was no more likely to get breast cancer again than anyone else.
In November 2018, she had a straight forward operation for an abscess on the appendix, a week later she started to feel unsteady on her feet and ‘dizzy’. The situation worsened and was referred to A&E as a potential stroke patient. Within an hour the diagnosis was directing the consultants towards brain tumours which were very likely, given her history, to be metastatic TNBC breast cancer. It seems that some tiny ‘seeds’ of cancer had ‘hidden’ and so all the treatment for the original diagnosis had not been effective. Further scans confirmed brain tumours, lung tumours and spine tumour all secondary TNBC with the only option palliative care.
Now 54 she is doing well with ongoing chemotherapy treatments and regular scans to manage the tumours to hopefully give her a chance of living longer with a good quality of life!
I hope to raise awareness for TNBC and highlight that this is a very aggressive cancer which needs far more understanding and research to help future diagnosis and treatment by raising funds for Cancer Research.
With almost 140 women diagnosed every day, breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK. And, although rarer, around 350 men are also diagnosed with breast cancer every year. The good news is more than two-thirds of women now survive 20 years or more. Help Cancer Research UK find new ways to diagnose and treat the disease.