Senior Editor of commercial partnerships, HuffPost UK
“Having a cancer diagnosis can be tough at times. And lonely... You almost grieve for the life you had yet it’s so hard to look forward as the future is so uncertain.”
Emma Young is 39. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014 aged just 34. Five days later she was told the cancer had spread to her bones and is now living with secondary (metastatic) cancer, which is incurable.
The single mother-of-three has filmed a video diary, shared exclusively with HuffPost UK, to raise awareness of the reality of living with secondary breast cancer.
Emma’s video diaries, which feature in full on Breast Cancer Now’s website, cover a range of topics including the importance of self-checking, treatment and its side effects, things that bring her joy such as exercise and socialising, as well as the perils of dating with a terminal condition.
She hopes the videos will put people at ease. “If one person can see how I’m living my life since I’ve been diagnosed, it can show that having this secondary diagnosis doesn’t mean that you have to sit at home on the sofa all day and cry,” she says in the video.
The videos have been released to mark Secondary Breast Cancer Awareness Day (13 October).
"But most people come out the other end feeling more like themselves than ever before."
After her cancer diagnosis in 2009, Jennifer Saunders penned a humorous piece on the realities of treatment.
"The first time you have chemo is a bit scary, because you have no idea how you’re going to feel," she said.
"But let me tell you this: it’s basically like the most enormous hangover you’ve ever had in your whole life; it’s like a night on mixed spirits, wine and grappa. It’s a real cracker. It’s a humdinger."
Jason LaVeris via Getty Images
Shannen Doherty said "the unknown" is the worst part of living with breast cancer.
"Is the chemo going to work? Is the radiation going to work? You know, am I going to have to go through this again, or am I going to get secondary cancer? Everything else is manageable. Pain is manageable, you know living without a breast is manageable, it's the worry of your future and how your future is going to affect the people that you love."
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When Olivia Newton-John was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992, she learned that sometimes it's important to put yourself first.
"When the second friend I called with the news burst into tears, I thought - this is too stressful. I had to find someone else to handle the day to day discussions of my health so I could concentrate on healing."
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In 2011, Wanda Sykes said her twins, who were just two years old at the time, were one of the reasons she opted to have a double mastectomy.