Toral Shah, UK
DIAGNOSED AT 29
Tell us who you are, your age and a little bit about your story?
I’m a nutritionist and founder of The Urban Kitchen. I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 29 while studying for an MSc in Nutritional Medicine, specialising in cancer. A few years after my mum had been diagnosed and treated for the same disease. “My whole world was falling down around me and my plans were waylaid whilst I came to terms with what was happening to me.
Tell us about the moment you first noticed a symptom of breast cancer?
It was during my studies I found a lump in my breast. It was breast cancer, which was an incredible shock. It made no sense, I was under thirty, committed to a healthy lifestyle and I was even training for a triathlon. I felt too young to lose a breast.
How have you used your experience for the better?
The more we can educate the public and health professionals, the more we can share the pool of our resources and knowledge. Campaigns like this will help people to have an earlier diagnosis by checking their breasts and make positive lifestyle changes to help prevent all forms of cancer.
How important is self checking?
Doctors put my early diagnosis down to my own self-examination. I’m sad to say though, that in September 2018, I was diagnosed with a recurrence of my original breast cancer. I found this by knowing my body and checking both breasts thoroughly every month.