Pictured above: Laura and her daughter Orla on holiday before chemotherapy
Laura Oak’s mum was diagnosed with breast cancer, which she lived with for twenty-one years. Nearly four years after her mum’s death, Laura found a lump.
Mum’s diagnosis made me breast aware and less shy about going to the GP with symptoms. In fact, I rang the doctors the day after first feeling the lump. Within weeks, I was diagnosed with a fast-growing stage 1 invasive ductal carcinoma.
After my lumpectomy, my husband and I started preventative IVF. We have a daughter, but we were hoping for a second child so we wanted a safeguard should the treatment impact my fertility.
The side-effects of chemotherapy are awful but, when I feel well, I make the most of it. I go running, enjoy cooking dinner and have a glass of wine when I can as there are days when I’m bloated, achy and unable to stomach food.
People see me feeling okay, but I want people to know that it is not always like that and that’s okay too.
So much has changed since Mum’s treatment. While more people are being diagnosed, more are surviving thanks to research.
When discussing the best treatment plan for me, my consultant calculated my prognosis with treatment and without. The results were overwhelming.
I have primary breast cancer and I’m lucky that I found it in time. If I had delayed, the rate at which it was growing, it could have spread. That’s why I’m a walking ambassador of early detection and I hope effective routine screenings are developed for younger women.