Jane Allen was 41 when she felt a small lump that felt like a twiglet in her left breast in 2007, and at first, doctors told her there was nothing to worry about. Jane, a single parent at the time and busy marketing for a top UK design consultancy, did not think anything was amiss. Besides, she had a new man in her life and things were busy but she felt healthy and happy.
It was only when the lump started to enlarge that the doctors took it seriously and after some tests, it was revealed that she had the rare form of Triple Negative breast cancer which had progressed to stage 4, quite serious.
The news came as a shock to Jane and her new partner, and Jane told him she would understand if he decided he would find it difficult to continue in the relationship. He said he wanted to stay with Jane and help her through it, which is what he did. Jane took ten months off work and went through a very tough time with her breast cancer.
She had a full mastectomy and the majority of the lymph nodes on her left-hand side were removed to stop the cancer in its tracks. There were complications as a result of the surgery and Jane was very poorly for a while. Then when the chemotherapy and radiotherapy kicked in she suffered further setbacks with excruciating joint pain and other side effects.
Throughout all of this, her new partner and her grown-up daughter gave her the full support she needed. And her workplace supported her really well and raised funds for breast cancer in her absence. Her daughter fell pregnant during Jane’s treatment and had a baby.
Jane has luckily been in remission since 2008. In 2014 she got married to her partner who has (in her words) “seen me without a breast longer than he has seen me with two!”. For the wedding, she really wanted to wear a strapless dress – though realised it would be difficult with only one breast. However, she found a lady who was able to fit a pocket into a strapless bra, which meant she was able to wear the wedding dress of her dreams at her wedding – much to her husband-to-be’s delight.
Jane’s life has changed a lot since she was first diagnosed. She now does a lot of fundraising for breast cancer initiatives and lives a very healthy lifestyle.
Breast Cancer UK is working to prevent more women like Jane from having their lives interrupted by breast cancer. We can only do this with your support, please donate today to support our work, thank you.