I was diagnosed with primary and secondary breast cancer in March 2015. The first couple of months were spent being directed by medical staff (they were amazing!). I had two operations, a corpectomy and a hip replacement. I was prescribed various medications for cancer, pain relief and to induce menopause. I felt very powerless.

Forward on four and a half years, and I feel great most of the time. I have a wonderful family and supportive friends. From the outside I would appear “normal”, but I do suffer from fatigue and have constant aches and pains from the bone mets.

I am a research student, and when I started to read about the latest research on breast cancer, I started to feel like I could regain some control. I want to write a blog post for those people, who have recently been diagnosed, so that they can quickly gain some useful information on secondary breast cancer. My friend Dr Lisa Lee-Jones (Manchester Metropolitan University), who specialises in cancer biology, has been a huge help in gathering useful links and research. Here, I will summarise some of the useful information.

To find out more information on your cancer sub-type (mine is ER+ HER2-) https://www.macmillan.org.uk/information-and-support/breast-cancer/treating/treatment-decisions/understanding-your-diagnosis/receptors-for-breast-cancer.html . The receptor status helps clinicians determine which drugs are likely to work, using “molecular targeted” treatment. The targeted treatments are newer types of treatments and don’t have the side effects traditionally associated with chemotherapy because they target the genetic defect of the tumour and leave the normal cells alone.  I was prescribed hormone treatments, but I also decided to have a second opinion, which every patient is entitled to via your gp. I requested to go to The Christies in Manchester.
https://www.christie.nhs.uk/professionals/research/research-themes/breast-cancer-research-team/ . I discovered this private clinic, through a friend on facebook. They prescribe medication to take in conjunction with your standard treatments. http://careoncologyclinic.com/. When I took any additional medication, I always spoke to my gp or oncologist.

I wanted to know about treatment options and trials. I also wanted to know about where research was leading in this field. Here are some further links that you may find useful:

Written by Beth Roberts and Dr Lisa Lee-Jones