This month it's Breast Cancer Awareness month and I have been working alongside the wonderful team at Coppafeel! to find a way in encouraging conversation into breast cancer and for young women to check for the early signs of cancer on this blog. I remember watching Louise from Sprinkle Of Glitter's video recently on her YouTube channel discussing the loss of her mum to cancer. It struck a cord with me that despite it was her mum that sadly died of cancer it's the people around her which it lives on even now she's gone. We all know about cancer and it's cannonball effect in somebodies life and I hope that none of my readers, myself, friends or family have to experience the endurance of that painful and difficult time. I decided the best way to discuss this sensitive subject was to talk to somebody who had an experience of dealing with the likelihood of getting cancer and who's also around my age. Don't think because your young it won't affect you because as Sarah explains in her short story it can affect you..

Is preventative surgery really a choice when the alternative is a strong possibility of getting cancer?
Yes my thoughts exactly. In February of this year I had a risk reducing mastectomy and reconstruction. 

Let me introduce myself; My name is Sarah, I'm a relatively normal 22 year old, a physiotherapist, a CoppaFeel! Boobette.  I am also a carrier of the BRCA2 genetic mutation (lucky me!) 

For those of you that don't know what the above means, it means that I have genetic pre-disposition that increases my chances of getting breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Breast cancer by to up to 80% and ovarian cancer by about 40%. So although yes I choose to have surgery I didn't feel those statistics left me much choice. 

Up until the age of 20 I didn't want to know if I carried this genetic mutation, it was a number of things that made me change my mind however the definitive point was after watching a documentary on Kris Hallenga (the founder of CoppaFeel!) called ‘Dying To Live’. She made me realise that actually I was lucky that I might have a choice and if I could do anything to prevent getting breast cancer then that's exactly what I should do!
I then chose to go ahead and have the genetic testing; the results confirmed that I was positive for the BRCA2 mutation.  I then took the decision to have a risk reducing double mastectomy and reconstruction.

To summarise the process; it was long, an emotional rollercoaster, frustrating at times and somewhat scary. I was and still am confident it was the right decision however that didn't take away from the fact I knew I would never look the same or even 'normal' again but hey, what IS normal? I finally had the procedure on Feb 24th of this year; they got rid of all/most breast tissue and then put tissue expanders under my pecs to stretch my skin and pecs, these then got filled with saline every 2 weeks for about 2 months to further stretch my muscles and skin until I was left with very full, round, hard implants! In July this year I had another procedure to swap these tissue expanders for permanent implants which are much more natural in appearance and softer. This also meant that after about 2 weeks I could go underwear shopping as I'd been made to wear hospital bras for the previous 6 months! It's now October and I'm happy with the final results - if I can call my boobs that- and know that I never have to worry about breast cancer. 

It was after the initial operation that I got involved in CoppaFeel! and became a Boobette.  CoppaFeel! are an amazing charity that promotes young women to check their boobs and know what's normal for them! Knowing what's normal means that you can recognise when something isn't right and therefore go to your GP with the confidence to say this isn't normal. 

As we all (should) know catching cancer early means the chances of it having spread are far less and the chances of survival are far greater. I should also say in most cases when you find something it is most likely to be nothing to be worried about, but with anything like this it is always better to be safe than sorry and get it checked it out. Through being a Boobette I have met young women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer but because they caught it early they are now cancer free, in remission or undergoing treatment with good prognosis. Some of these Boobettes were regular checkers and others weren't and their cancer was caught by chance but something they'd say is don't leave it to chance. 

They say that prevention is better than a cure but unfortunately you can't prevent everything and therefore early detection is second best. 

Knowing your boobs really could save your life.

thanks to Sarah for sharing an insight into her story on my blog
you can read further about Sarah and her story through her amazing online blog Lets Talk Boobs

you can pop over to Coppafeel's website where they can provide you with text reminders to check your boobs for signs of cancer and more about their charity which has been so great to collaborate with for my blog. 
thanks for reading,