Ebru takes on The MoonWalk, after being diagnosed with breast cancer in her twenties

I remember my oncologist saying that at first she was shocked I was 29 years old – but that she’d seen so many young people that she shouldn’t be surprised.

“In May 2006, I had a routine radiologist check in Turkey, where I lived at the time. It was through this ultrasound that the radiologist saw a suspicious lump and told me I would need to be checked again in 2 months. In July that year I went back to the same radiologist who told me the lump had doubled in size and I was sent straight to the breast cancer surgeon to do further checks. I was 29.

The breast surgeon said the lump looked suspicious and even if it was benign it would need to be removed as it was growing fast. As I knew I would be having an operation either way, rather than a biopsy they did an operation to remove the lump. It was then sent to the lab where they confirmed it was cancer.

When I went to the oncologist, I remember very clearly, she said: “Before you came in, I was at first very surprised that you were 29 years old. Then, I thought to myself, I’ve seen so many young people over the last couple of years that I shouldn’t be surprised.” Youth is unfortunately not the advantage you think it to be.

I then had my second surgery where they went deeper into the area, checked all the sites and checked my lymph nodes. Thankfully my lymph nodes were clear. After my operations, I had six rounds of chemotherapy and 22 rounds of radiotherapy.

My diagnosis came out of the blue and it was a really hard year for everyone. I have no family history of breast cancer, my dad was unwell at the time, I was working full-time and two months before my diagnosis, my then boyfriend, now husband, and I had got engaged.

Shocked is an understatement but when you get the diagnosis you just go through it and take one day at a time. My fiancé was an amazing support. I also have a supportive family and incredible friends who stuck by me, they came with me when I had chemotherapy and I felt really, really supported throughout.

I took the hormone therapy tamoxifen for three years. At the time, the recommended treatment was five years, now 10. However, I really wanted to have children. So I discussed with my oncologist about coming off tamoxifen after three years and she gave me her blessing.

We couldn’t conceive right away and I was unable to have IVF as my tumour was hormone dependant, so we had to try a few different things. Luckily, we had frozen some embryos when I was first diagnosed before I started chemotherapy. That is how we conceived our first son, now aged 9. Then a few years later I conceived my second son, now 6, naturally.

I always knew at some point I wanted to do something to give back but I hadn’t actually thought too much about it. I think I was not ready. Then, I somehow came across The MoonWalk in 2020 and just impulsively signed up to the half marathon, which was of course postponed. I think that this coming year it is even more important for people to participate. Breast cancer is a serious illness, maybe the most important for a woman, and it has been on the backburner because of Covid.

Due to Covid, I was one year late for my checks, which hasn’t happened in the 16 years since I had breast cancer. I couldn’t believe it had been two years since my last check because so much had been going on. When I had shooting pains in my breast it was a real wake-up call. Thankfully, everything was fine and the pains were understood to be hormonal, but the delay could have been lethal.

I lost a friend to breast cancer last summer, she was my age. I see her family and how they’re struggling and this is why we need people to take part in events like The MoonWalk, to raise money and awareness. Breast cancer hasn’t gone away and has been a monster getting bigger in the background during the pandemic.

I heard a statistic that in the first few months of the pandemic there was a 40% decrease in cancer diagnosis in the UK. Clearly that is not because cancer has suddenly and magically gone away. So there must be a backlog and then cancer is getting diagnosed later when it’s more serious. So it is a very important year to do The MoonWalk, it is like a reboot.

Your health is a priority, even in a pandemic. Travel can be put aside, school can be put aside, but you cannot put your health aside”.  

Thank you for sharing your story Ebru and we look forward to seeing you at The MoonWalk London 2022!

If you feel inspired to unite with us against breast and other cancers... check out our challenges here and if you would like to share your story with us, please email us and we will be in touch.



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