Samantha Hutchins, UK
DIAGNOSED AT 30
Tell us who you are, your age and a little bit about your story?
I’m Sam, 32 and was diagnosed with breast cancer just 8 weeks after my 30th birthday. As someone with no family history of breast cancer and as someone who always associated the disease with much older women than me, it was a huge shock hearing the words ‘you have cancer’ at just 30 years old.
Tell us about the moment you first noticed a symptom of breast cancer?
I had no other symptoms other than a very prominent lump that came up quite suddenly, I had an aggressive form of breast cancer that would require ‘the book thrown at it’ at the age of just 30.
Did you ever think that breast cancer could affect you? If not, why?
To say it came as a huge shock was an understatement. I was 30, with a career, only recently married and with a lifetime of plans ahead of me. I was fortunate that my hospital was able to offer me the cold cap which would allow me to preserve some of my hair - it felt as though I got to keep a part of me still. Every breast cancer booklet I read felt like it was aimed at someone much older than me. I wanted to hear about women like me so I started to share my story via Instagram as a way of connecting with others.
How did the experience/treatment affect your relationship with yourself? With others?
People often say ‘I don’t know how you do it’ but when you are faced with your own mortality you just find a way. I was very adamant that my life needed to continue as normal to regain control over the situation.
Has this experience changed your perspective on anything? – Life, family, yourself, future?
Cancer really tests your relationship with people. They say that cancer doesn’t just affect the patient but everyone around them. If anything, it’s really made me appreciate those who stuck around regardless of how bad things got. Having to stare death in the face really makes you re-evaluate life and any future plans. It doesn’t happen overnight but I am slowly getting there.