Woman, 31, with incurable breast cancer backs Channel 4 campaign
PUBLISHED: 14:26 08 October 2019 | UPDATED: 20:59 08 October 2019
A 31-year-old woman from Norwich has launched a platform for women battling secondary breast cancer after learning her disease had become incurable.
Laura Middleton-Hughes, from Norwich, was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014 after finding a lump in her left breast while on a dream holiday to Australia.
She underwent a mastectomy and chemotherapy and recovered, but started to feel pain in her shoulder in April 2016.
It worsened, until she was eventually sent for a scan. Medics discovered a tumour at the top of her humerus, the long bone in the arm from the shoulder to the elbow.
She said: "I didn't know at that point if it had spread anywhere else but immediately I feared it had and I had only weeks to live."
She underwent a shoulder replacement and began chemotherapy, and today has traces of cancer in her spine, 12 vertebrae and pelvis. Her stage four disease is stable, but incurable.
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While in an online cancer community, she met Nicky Newman, also 31, from Guildford, Surrey, who had also been diagnosed with secondary breast cancer.
The women, who have both been told they will no longer be able to have children, have founded an online community, called Secondary Sisters, for women in the same position.
They are also supporting Stand Up To Cancer, a joint fundraising campaign by Cancer Research UK and Channel 4, and have painted their bodies with words describing their journey - including stage four, fatigue and pain.
They said they hoped Secondary Sisters would "offer information, hope and basically a bit of fun".
Mrs Newman said: "There are tough times, of course, and we don't shy away from that. But our focus is on living your life and living it well."
Mrs Middleton-Hughes, who had to give up her job as a hairdresser, married her husband Brad in April this year.
She said: "I'm very, very grateful that the treatment I'm having is managing to give me a fairly normal life."
Secondary breast cancer is where the cancer cells have spread to other parts of the body.
For more information, search Secondary Sisters on Instagram and for information on Stand Up To Cancer visit standuptocancer.org.uk