I JUST FELT LIKE THERE WASN’T A SINGLE RISK FACTOR THAT APPLIED TO ME

When I was diagnosed, I was young, I breastfed, I was fit, active, healthy, I never smoked, I never drank. I didn’t even have a lump.

Sarajoy, diagnosed 2016
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Sarajoy was fit, active, ate well, never smoke or drank and looked after herself

And yet despite a very healthy lifestyle, she was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was just 32 years old. It happened six days before Christmas and three months after her mum was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

“I was breastfeeding my son until he was one and when I finished breastfeeding one of my breasts returned to normal and the other didn’t,” explains Sarajoy.

After two ultrasounds Sarajoy was treated for mastitis, an inflammation in the breast tissue commonly caused by a blocked milk duct. It took 6 months before doctors were able to determine the real cause: she had breast cancer.

Despite a suspected family history – testing revealed that Sarajoy had no genetic predisposition for the disease.

“I WAS YOUNG, I BREASTFED, I WAS FIT, ACTIVE, HEALTHY, I NEVER SMOKED, I NEVER DRANK, AND I JUST FELT LIKE THERE WASN’T A SINGLE RISK FACTOR THAT APPLIED TO ME.”

Sarajoy started targeted treatment on her cancer (a therapy which didn’t exist 10 years ago). As part of her treatment, Sarajoy had four surgeries, 29 rounds of chemo, 25 rounds of radiotherapy and countless appointments, tests, scans and hospital visits

Sarajoy hopes her story will raise awareness of the importance of early detection and breast cancer research.

“I hope my story will motivate others to act if they notice a change in their breasts, and that it will inspire them to support breast cancer research.”

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Photography: Damian Bennett at Union Management