Breast cancer is not just the lump

Lesley Collopy’s breast cancer was diagnosed on her son’s birthday, eight months ago.

“When you hear your doctor say it is cancer, your whole world implodes. Breast cancer is not just the lump. Not enough support is given to the husbands or children of people with breast cancer. And it is difficult because I don’t think they know how to react around you.”

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I expected to die, but 15 years later I’m still here, fit and healthy and positive

“You think you are invincible when you are younger,” says Jennifer Heunis, whose experience with breast cancer opened the eyes of the students that she was teaching. “We all need to educate ourselves about our bodies.”

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It is amazing what you can do when you don’t have a choice

“I may have inherited breast cancer, but I also got the gene to overcome it,” says Kate Squire-Howe, a five year survivor of breast cancer. “A cancer diagnosis is a life changing experience. Growing old is not something that is guaranteed. I decided to live the life that I want to live right now.”

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Cancer gave me another life

“I’d like to tell people how to keep on after diagnosis. Nobody is ever ok when they get the diagnosis, but I people to know there is life and hope after it all,” says Faieza Arnold, who has been a breast cancer survivor for 12 years. “With cancer you don’t get a second chance in life – you get another life.”

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Cancer is not just hard for yourself, it is hard for your family too

“When I got my diagnosis, I was dumbstruck,” says Natalie Isaacs, who was diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago. “I thought that cancer was associated with death, but now I know that it is not.”

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Get through it!

Baronice Lewis explains that, in her ten years as a survivor, she has learned living with cancer is all about finding your way of coping emotionally. You get through stuff – not under it, not on top but through it!

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You need to draw your friends into your journey

Joycelyn Matsimella was a nurse for many years, and when she got breast cancer she had to allow herself to be cared for, rather than being the carer. She talks about how her cancer affected her children, especially as they had also lost their father.

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