Breast cancer risk, and bereavement as a child

Hello. I lost my mum to breast cancer when I was 14 - she was diagnosed at 43 and 50 when she died. I’m now 38 and I’ve never really got over it (I’m not sure you can). However, I’d like to reassure people on here that it does get a lot easier!

However, having spent years avoiding it, I’ve now started to engage with the Breast Cancer Family History clinic. I don’t want to go through what my mum did, but engaging with it means thinking about it, which is really hard.

Due to many family members having had cancer, I’m classed as high risk and am starting to explore options for risk reduction. I had to fill in a detailed questionnaire about family members. They then said they would look for my mum’s breast tissue but couldn’t find it. This means I am not entitled to genetic testing on the NHS but I’m still classed as high risk and have yearly mammograms - I’ve now had two. I’m proud of myself for doing this because it hasn’t been an easy thing for me to confront.
However, due to my experience with my mum’s illness, I find it absolutely terrifying to even think about cancer. I’ve always known I must be high risk, but actually confronting it as a fact is different and it gets more scary as I get older.
I had my second mammogram appointment the other day and I was taken into a room with a nurse beforehand and asked questions about family members, she also told me I am entitled to breast removal if I want. This was a shock, I hadn’t realised till that point just how ‘high risk’ I am, I haven’t understood the information they’ve given me properly, and I didn’t cope with the mammogram very well at all, I was in tears.

I can’t help thinking that this experience must be really common, as so many people who are ‘high risk’ must have lost people close to them. So I’m just reaching out to see if there is anyone else in the same boat, as I feel it would be really useful to chat to someone who is. I can’t deal with it on my own and my friends don’t understand.

Sorry this is so long, I’m not very good at being concise really!

1 Like

Dear @sad_grrrl

Thank you for sharing such a personal post. No need to apologise, it is good that you have reached out here rather than bottle your feelings up.

I think it might be helpful to you if you book an appointment with your GP and share how you are feeling. Your GP may have answers to your questions and possibly be able to offer you some advice.

I have found a website which may be of help to you with supportive information and it is Breast Screening for women with a high risk of breast cancer , you will need to type in the search bar Breast Screening and scroll down to Breast Screening:high risk women.

I hope this will be of some support to you and that there will be Community Members here who will be able to support you through this.

You are not alone and please to continue to reach out.

Take care.