Triple negative breast cancer (BRCA gene), chemotherapy, double mastectomy with immediate reconstruction with PAP Flap
In September 2016, at the age of 26, I found a lump in my right breast. Before this, I had often had regular, harmless lumps in my breast related to my menstrual cycle. They were always in the same place, whereas this new lump was in a different location, so I knew I needed to get it checked. After visiting my GP, I was referred to the breast clinic at the hospital.
After more tests at the hospital, I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer; due to a family history of breast cancer I was told I would need to be tested for the BRCA gene. This would determine what kind of operation I would need after six courses of chemotherapy.
I did test positive for the gene, so I needed a double mastectomy. I elected to have reconstruction at the same time. As I didn’t have enough tissue on my stomach, other options were given such as implants and the use of tissue from my thighs. I decided to opt for the latter, because in the long term I thought this would work better for my lifestyle.
Prior to my operation I received excellent support from the team at the hospital, who prepared me for what to expect.
The operation and recovery presented me with many challenges, and I got through that difficult period with the support of my amazing partner, family and friends. As the recovery from the operation meant I had limited movement, it gave me a lot of time to rest, which allowed me to start to recover emotionally as well as physically. I was supported by a couple of family friends who had also experienced breast cancer, which was invaluable to me. Almost five years on from my operation, I would like to offer support to women in a similar way.