I was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer aged just 33 years old in early November 2017. I was diagnosed straight away at stage 4 which is the stage that kills. It was one of the worst days of my life.
I spoke to the highly trained medical professionals and doctors to see if they could explain why I had cancer. They couldn’t. I was 33. I exercised. I had never smoked.
I immediately started thinking how did I cause this? I cried thinking of boozy nights at university and bacon baps at the football. I’d seen the charity adverts about cancer. They made it clear in my messed up head what was happening. After all cancer is described as preventable and clever people are picked up long before stage 4 according to those ads. People in their 30s are rarely featured. So logically I must have messed up somehow and I accepted and sort of dealt with that guilt.
It wasn’t until I saw a geneticist a few weeks ago who suggested there is a genetic cause for my cancer that things changed! The idea that I possibly wasn’t to blame shocked me. It wasn’t until that point that I realised how guilty I had felt. The idea that a dodgy gene I’d never heard of had killed me actually cheered me up! Tests are ongoing to identify the gene and to see if it could hurt my other family members in the future.
If I could change two things for cancer patients (other than finding better drugs) they would be:
There are a massive number of myths out there about how people get cancer, the impact it has and how to cure it. I’m a great believer in science and research. False science and fake cancer cures outrage me. It’s dangerous, irresponsible and it can kill. They also make it a nightmare once you’ve been diagnosed as you try and sort fact from fiction as you search desperately for the answers. So I plan to try and highlight these myths and why scientists have proved them to be wrong. As such this may be a multi-parted blog series as I find new myths to destroy and perceptions to change.
There are just a couple of caveats I want to flag up:
- I am not a scientist. I will always try and source my comments though.
- I’m in the UK so will focus on UK institutions, charities and statistics.
- I have secondary breast cancer. I’m 34 now. I’m female. My perspective may be different to many other people. No two cancer patients are the same. We all have unique views.
So over the next few days I plan to start myth busting. Please stay reading! My first 5 myths to obliterate in no particular order will be:
- Cutting out sugar prevents/cures cancer. This will also cover the myth that certain foods can cure cancer.
- Cancer patients all lose their hair.
- Stage 4 = on your death bed.
- Some cancers are easier than others.
- Thinking positively can cure cancer.
Myths like this deserve to be destroyed. For as long as I stay #BusyLivingWithMets that is my mission.
See you next time!