Home Breaking News Woman, 27, told by doctors double cancer would kill her by now...

Woman, 27, told by doctors double cancer would kill her by now but is now in remission

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A fitness instructor from South London was told she only had two years left to live after discovering she had stage two breast cancer.

Fran Whitfield, who is now 27, was 25 when she received a breast cancer diagnosis a year after first flagging up symptoms with her doctor.

In January 2019, Fran discovered a lump on her breast. Her GP referred her to have an ultrasound, but when she went to the appointment, the specialist believed the lump was just hormonal.

READ MORE: The 25-year-old South Londoner battling breast cancer, a brain tumour and a ruptured spine in the pandemic

Fast-forward to July 2020, when Fran noticed a dimple on her breast.

She booked to see a private consultant, who did an ultrasound the same day. And three days later, Fran was finally diagnosed with breast cancer.

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Fran is a qualified fitness instructor

Scans revealed something suspicious in her brain where a brain tumour was discovered, which Fran’s oncologist said she believed was a metastasis of Fran’s breast cancer.

She was then hit with the news that with stage two breast cancer and her brain tumour, she could have two years to live.

Fran told MyLondon: “It was a mixture of being incredibly angry because I was misdiagnosed and found this lump when I was 24 and was told it was just hormonal and in that time it had spread.

“But I felt mostly numb.”

At that point, Fran made the conscious decision that it was either fight or flight, so she fought for her life.

“I refused to accept that I would live until I was 27 so I fought to be heard and changed hospitals,” she said.

In doing so I was listened to, got an incredible team behind me and received the treatment needed.

Fran went in for surgery during the pandemic and started chemotherapy on October 1 last year, which she said pushed the boundaries of her body.

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‘It was testing, by the end of it I was unrecognisable, I was see-through”

“It was testing, particularly during Covid. With that came a lot of nausea and by the end of it, I was unrecognisable. I was just see-through,” said Fran.

“My body reacted to it really sensitively which was good because it shrunk my tumour but it gave me this bizarre side effect that I couldn’t touch my skin because it was so painful.

“The doctors hadn’t seen it before but they thought it was because the drugs were damaging my nerves. I wasn’t able to put my clothes on, I wasn’t able to lie down, I wasn’t able to have anyone hug me.”

She finished chemo in May earlier this year, then started taking a targeted drug as well as hormonal treatment.

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“The treatment means I’m essentially menopausal now.

“It’s been incredibly hard mentally over the past few months because it makes me feel so old. There are hot flushes but also loss of libido, which is hard for relationships.”

However, after all her mental strength and perseverance, at the beginning of September Fran got the news that she is now in complete remission.

She said: “The first thing I thought was I wish someone could be here with me to hear this news. I just wanted to go and see my mum.

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Fran couldn’t wait to tell her mum the good news

“Then I asked him a million times: ‘are you sure?’ I couldn’t get my head around the fact it was actually happening.”

There is always the underlying fear with secondary cancer that because it is incurable, it can come back at any point, but Fran does not focus on that and takes each day as it comes.

She said: “This wouldn’t have happened if I accepted the fate that was told to me, and wasn’t listened to, but unfortunately this is very much the case with secondary breast cancer patients.”

Now she is healthy again, she is trying to bring attention to secondary – or metastatic – breast cancer charities and organisations to get the research, funding and voice that is needed.

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Make 2nds Count secondary breast cancer charity campaign featuring Fran and other women who also have the disease

35,000 people are living with secondary breast cancer – the only type that causes death.

She said: “It is not spoken about often and only 2 to 5% of funding goes to research on metastatic breast cancer.

“I took part in a campaign with Make 2nds Count, an organization trying to bring attention to secondary breast cancer to get the research, funding and voice that is needed.”

Her message to anyone living with secondary breast cancer is that she is living proof that you can indeed fight it and live with secondary cancer.

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https://www.mylondon.news/news/south-london-news/woman-27-told-doctors-double-21920836