Name.  Helen Stewart

Age. 55

Region. Wirral, Merseyside

Diagnosis. Age 54 Primary diagnosis January2020 after finding “a lump”,  mastectomy Feb2020, and then followed swiftly by MBC diagnosis March2020 at staging CT/MRI scans). Nodules in lungs, and spine mets. ER+ HER2-

Hi, I am Helen. I live in Wirral with husband James. We have 5 children, all grownup and left home now, so it has become very quiet here!

I have a family history of breast cancer. My great granny, granny and mother have all had BC. My mum was 40 at her first diagnosis in 1982, and after two recurrences is now still well.

In November 2019 my youngest sister was diagnosed with BC, 6 weeks later I found a lump on my left boob and was diagnosed as well. She was a constant support through my surgery and chemo journey as she was only a few weeks ahead of me and could reassure me and advise me about what was to come. She has now completed her chemo/radiotherapy and is on Letrazole to hopefully prevent a recurrence.

I had a left mastectomy, followed by staging CT/MRI scans which revealed that I had nodules in my lung pleura and mets in my spine. I had been away for the weekend (pre chemo, and just before the lockdown restrictions) and had horrendous sciatica, the tumour must have been pressing on my sciatic nerve, but at the time I was unaware of any of the red flags of secondary BC. The lymph nodes had only shown micro mets in the sentinel node, so I guess the cancer had spread  through my bloodstream. By this time it was the beginning of the lockdown, March 2020, so the news of my scan results and mets was done by telephone and was a huge shock. 

I have had 6x EC chemo as first lime treatment. And am now on Palbocicclib, Denosumab injections and Letrazole. 

My sister and I have both got faulty BRACA2 genes, we aren’t surprised at the news as we have a very strong family history. We now have the worry and dread though that we have passed this in to our children, and that is the part that breaks our hearts. 

Reason to be involved in MetUPUK; Secondary metastatic breast cancer what kills us. People have to stop thinking that Breast Cancer is a ‘good’ cancer to have, that it is totally curable, that buying a pink t-shirt will help ‘cure’ us all.  And it has been shocking to me that there is a lack of knowledge, understanding and research. We need access to more treatments, access to more clinical trials and we need to become visible, Metupuk is here for us, shouting for us and helping our voices be heard.

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