A 28-year-old woman with terminal breast cancer says she was initially told she was “too young” to be attacked by the disease.
Sherrie Deacon, who was only 27 years old when she saw a lump in her breast last year, said she was initially “tricked” by the NHS after pressing for diagnostic tests.
After the delays in an appointment at the hospital for an ultrasound and a mammogram, he chose to go privately where it was discovered that he had stage two breast cancer.
But CT scans later revealed that the cancer had spread to his sternum and spine and is now classified as incurable or “secondary.”
Sherrie is now urging other young women to check their breasts if they see anything unusual.
“If you are young and suspect that something is wrong with your breast, don’t be fooled,” he said.
“It’s rare, but it’s not uncommon to have breast cancer at my age and if I hadn’t deprived myself, who knows if I would still be here.”
Sherrie, who continues to work as an HMRC manager despite her devastating diagnosis, now plans to marry her partner Anna Dinis in June at the Llechwen Hall hotel, near Abercynon.
“She has been absolutely amazing in all this,” added Sherrie, who met Anna at Swansea University almost 10 years ago.
“We were planning to start a family and maybe adopt, but that was suspended because I don’t think they give me a baby with secondary cancer.”
“Everything is absolutely heartbreaking.”
Sherrie, from Caerphilly, said she felt a lump in her breast in the summer of 2019 but did not show any other symptoms.
“I went to my doctor and they thought I was suspicious, since it didn’t feel like a cyst.”
“My grandfather also had breast cancer, which is obviously more rare in men, and had something known as the ‘BRCA gene’, which meant he was more susceptible to cancer.”
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Although his family doctor assured him that it would take him a fortnight to send her for an appointment at the hospital, it took longer than planned.
She said: “I called the reservation service, but they assured me by phone that I would not have breast cancer at my age.
“I was very surprised by that comment since they didn’t know about my family history.”
After the delays, Sherrie decided to pay to become private and was tested at St Joseph Hospital in Cwmbran. A week later his worst fears came true.
“It was absolutely devastating and shook us all. We suspected it was cancer, but until they tell you it really doesn’t come home.”
“Then they referred me to the NHS for my treatment. Since then, they were excellent with me.”
During chemotherapy, Sherrie began to lose her hair, which, she said, was very annoying at first, but she got used to it after a few weeks.
She decided to give her locks to Little Princess Trust, which provides real hair wigs to children and youth with hair loss. He also managed to raise £ 1,095 for the charity in the process.
“People have been very generous. I have been impressed by how lovely people have been,” he added.
Sherrie, who was also found to have the BRCA gene as her grandfather, now receives regular treatment at the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport and the Velindre Cancer Center in Cardiff.
Now he expects the cancer to remain “latent” in his system for as long as possible.
“I couldn’t thank my nurse and cancer consultant enough. Those two have been absolutely incredible.
“And my family and friends have supported me a lot. I don’t think I could have gone through this without them.”
Each year, about 55,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in the United Kingdom. However, it is more common in women 50 years of age or older.
Sherrie is now determined to inform other young women that breast cancer can occur at a much younger age.
Aneurin Bevan University Health Board has been contacted for comment.
A GoFundMe page has also been created in an attempt to take Sherrie to Japan on vacation, a place she has always wanted to visit.
To make a donation, visit www.gofundme.com/f/send-sherrie-to-japan