Jo was diagnosed with primary breast cancer at the age of 38. She was busy living her life with her young family; her husband, a daughter of 5 months, and a son of 2 years old. Her life changed forever. This was 14 years ago. Now, she is living with secondary/metastatic breast cancer, and in this episode, she shares her story.
The statistics make uncomfortable reading. Secondary breast cancer is not curable. Every day, 31 people in the UK die because of it. This needs to change, and we need to do more.
Jo was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer 7 years after her primary breast cancer diagnosis. She had recurrences affecting her lymph nodes, her sternum, shoulder and most recently her brain. Jo has endured countless chemotherapy treatments, surgeries and radiotherapy.
However, whilst having to deal with her breast cancer diagnosis, Jo continued with her mission. To educate, empower and advocate for those who have been affected by breast cancer.
Following her primary breast cancer diagnosis, Jo set up her website www.abcdiagnosis.co.uk. She is a self-confessed gatherer, and as she was doing research into her own diagnosis, she realised that there was a lack of information surrounding breast cancer, treatment options and the latest developments. She decided to share the information she had on her website, and then started to blog. Soon she had created a large library of content providing accessible information for others to read.
But she didn’t stop there. When she attended a conference about secondary breast cancer, she realised that the important red flag symptoms were not readily shared with breast cancer patients. So she decided to create her own infographics, highlighting the areas in the body where secondary breast cancer may affect, together with the associated symptoms. These infographics have helped so many women recognise secondary breast cancer signs and it has even been signposted by NHS England to be used all over the country.
In 2016 Jo founded the UK arm of www.metupuk.org.uk that focuses on secondary breast cancer. It is an advocacy organisation that campaigns for raising awareness of access to drugs and treatments, access to clinical trials and pushing for policy change for the better.
I had a fantastic conversation with Jo who was truly inspirational. You will learn so much about the landscape of secondary breast cancer and what can be done to change it.
You can find and connect with Jo at:
Jo’s website www.abcdiagnosis.co.uk
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Do you want to learn more about the impact of certain types of foods and breast cancer? Listen here and enjoy my conversation with Tamar Rothenberg.
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