As a newlywed and a young mother contemplating a second baby, the future looked bright for Beth Brown in 2013.
But shortly after she and her husband Mikey returned from their honeymoon, Beth – who has a young daughter Amelia Grace – was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of just 22.
Beth, now 26, had scheduled a GP appointment after noticing a ‘hardening’ in her breast, but told how given her age – and the fact there was no history of the disease in her family – she ‘never considered’ the possibility of cancer.
‘My biggest feeling when I was told it was cancer was the shock,’ she told FEMAIL.
Beth Brown, now 26, was a 22-year-old newlywed trying for her second child when she was diagnosed with cancer
‘I felt completely numb for about a month and at times I did have moments where I thought “how is this fair?”, “I’ve had to change my entire life because of this stupid disease” and “it took so much away from me.”
Beth noticed a hardening on the top side of her left breast in 2013, but admits the thought of cancer ‘never entered her mind’.
But when she eventually went to see her GP, he showed concern ‘straight away’ and within weeks she had her diagnosis.
She said: ‘It was horrible telling my friends and family. By far the worst was my mum; I felt like I was hurting her. I’ve always been very close to my mum, even more so as I got older and I felt the pain for her.’
The mum of one, from West Yorkshire, had chemotherapy, a mastectomy and radiotherapy after being diagnosed in 2013
Beth, seen with her husband Mikey and their daughter Amelia Grace, was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer in 2015
Beth began her treatment just two days before Christmas which went on until May 2014, followed by a mastectomy to remove her left breast.
But just over a year later, her hopes of recovery were dashed when an ‘agonising pain’ in her left hip led to a diagnosis of incurable secondary breast cancer within her bones.
‘It felt like one thing after another,’ said Beth. ‘I knew I’d kept strong for the first lot of treatment but now I was going to have to face it for the rest of my life, with no chance of remission.
Beth, seen on her wedding day, points out that while her cancer isn’t curable, it is treatable
Beth is passionate about raising awareness of secondary breast cancer and funds for research
‘That was a huge blow but I knew the longer I was strong and kept fighting, the longer I’d be around for my daughter and husband. The minute I started letting the cancer beat me, I’d lose the battle – one I refuse to lose any time soon!’
Beth, who is currently taking Capecitabine, a tablet form of chemotherapy, has also had to give up work and has been forced to move back in with her parents along with her young family in order to save money on rent.
She added: ‘Having a cancer that is incurable can still mean you can live, happily, for many years to come; whereas terminal means there are no more treatment options available to you.’
Despite her setbacks Beth, who hopes to buy a house with Mikey one day, is determined to live her life to the full and says her mantra is ‘I’m not going anywhere!’
Beth is supporting Breast Cancer Now – whose vision is that by 2050, everyone who develops breast cancer will live. The charity has announced more than £700,000 of funding across the UK for research specifically targeting secondary (or metastatic) breast cancer, where the disease has spread to another part of the body.