Health What nobody tells you about breast cancer: Woman who was diagnosed aged just 20 despite her healthy lifestyle says treatment has forced her body into premature menopause

04:10  14 june  2018
04:10  14 june  2018 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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What nobody tells you about breast cancer : Woman who was diagnosed aged just 20 despite her healthy lifestyle says treatment has Bianca Innes, 21, was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer when she was 20. She underwent chemotherapy and two surgeries before being cancer -free.

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a couple of people posing for the camera: Within eight weeks, the lump had tripled in size and Miss Innes said lifting her right arm to drive was painful © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Within eight weeks, the lump had tripled in size and Miss Innes said lifting her right arm to drive was painful A little over a year ago Bianca Innes, of the Gold Coast, received news that would forever change her life. 

The then 20-year-old journalism university student was diagnosed with Grade 3, Stage2B triple positive breast cancer after finding a lump in her right breast after a shower.

'I went to my GP who insisted it would likely be a fatty cyst or tissue but ordered a breast ultrasound for peace of mind,' Miss Innes told FEMAIL.

'I had to cancel my appointment after being hospitalised with an unrelated gynaecological issue. Eight weeks later, the lump had tripled in size and lifting my right arm to drive was painful,' she added.

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Lifetime risk reflects an average woman ’s risk over an entire lifetime, including the possibility that she may die from another cause before she would have been diagnosed with breast cancer and does not apply only to women who live to a very old age .

Just being a woman is the biggest risk factor for developing breast cancer . Other risk factors include: Age . “The reduced risk was more pronounced in younger women , specifically those diagnosed with breast cancer before menopause .

After undergoing an ultrasound and a core biopsy of the lump, Miss Innes also had bone scans and MRI tests to see if the cancer had spread to any other areas of her body. 

Unfortunately, doctors found that it had already spread to her lymph nodes.

'My initial thoughts after diagnosis were the obvious questions of ''how'' and ''why''. Answers that unfortunately none of my specialists could answer,' she recalled.

'So from then on, I decided that there was no way I wasn't going to beat the breast cancer. I was only 20-years-old at the time; I had a life to still live. I wasn't going to let cancer be the final chapter in my book.'

a woman wearing glasses: At age 20, Bianca Innes (pictured) was diagnosed with breast cancer after finding a lump in her right breast © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited At age 20, Bianca Innes (pictured) was diagnosed with breast cancer after finding a lump in her right breast

Miss Innes decided to share her diagnosis and journey - everything from losing her hair to the tears - through a blog that she named Going Topless. 

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That means the older a woman is , the greater her risk of developing the disease. Statistics from the U.S. National Cancer Institute show that a woman 's chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer by age is

Women aged 20 and older should get a baseline screening for cholesterol levels and triglycerides if they are at risk for All women should have a mammography to screen for breast cancer . If you have ever had a fracture, you should have a bone density test once you go through menopause .

'The greatest part about sharing my story on my blog is that it has started a conversation,' she told FEMAIL. 

'It's shocked people that someone at the age of 20 could be diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer.

'It has brought attention to a younger age demographic about the importance of being vigilant with their bodies,' she added. 

Miss Innes completed 13 rounds of chemotherapy in five months, but after having severe allergic reactions to the chemotherapy, the treatment was stopped. 

a man and a woman taking a selfie in a room: Miss Innes completed 13 rounds of chemotherapy in five months and underwent two surgeries © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Miss Innes completed 13 rounds of chemotherapy in five months and underwent two surgeries

She then underwent a lumpectomy and a full lymph node clearance after being unable to finish the planned chemotherapy treatment.

'After surgery I completed 30 consecutive rounds of radiation over a 30-day cycle,' she said.

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a couple of people posing for the camera: She decided to share her diagnosis and journey - everything from losing her hair to the tears - through a blog that she named Going Topless © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited She decided to share her diagnosis and journey - everything from losing her hair to the tears - through a blog that she named Going Topless

'I also have a monthly injection to suppress my body from producing oestrogen and progesterone, which has forced my 21-year-old body into premature menopause.'

Thankfully, the treatment worked for Miss Innes and on January 24 this year, she received the all-clear.

'Life has changed dramatically,' she said. 

a woman holding a glass of wine: The treatment worked and on January 24 this year, Miss Innes received the all-clear © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The treatment worked and on January 24 this year, Miss Innes received the all-clear

'I am now focused on rebuilding my body and health after the treatment I had received. I still struggle daily with the fear of recurrence and I continue to have scans and blood tests every four months,' she added.

'Finding a new ''normal'' after cancer is extremely difficult in that life will never return to how it was before. 

a close up of a mans face: Miss Innes has since returned to university part-time and started working, however she is determined to raise awareness about the disease that almost took her life © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Miss Innes has since returned to university part-time and started working, however she is determined to raise awareness about the disease that almost took her life

'A life-changing event such as cancer, reminds you of how precious life is.'

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Miss Innes has since returned to university part-time and started working, however she is determined to raise awareness about the disease that almost took her life. 

'In 2017, it was estimated that 17,586 women and 144 men would be diagnosed with breast cancer in Australia with only one woman being 20 years old or younger. Unfortunately for me, I was that one,' she said.

a person wearing sunglasses posing for the camera: 'A life changing event such as cancer, reminds you of how precious life is,' she said © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited 'A life changing event such as cancer, reminds you of how precious life is,' she said

'I want other women to know that it can and does happen to young women. Breast cancer is no longer a disease that affects the older women in our life. I am a prime example of that. 

'At my time of diagnosis, I lead an extremely healthy lifestyle and was living life as any 20-year-old young woman. It can and does happen,' she added.

Her best advice is get to know your body and to get checked regularly.

'Cancer doesn't discriminate,' she said. 

'If something isn't right, go to your doctor. If you don't get the answer that you feel is right, don't be scared to ask for a second opinion.'    

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