Mum has breast cancer

Found out my mum has breast cancer 3 weeks ago, it is to far gone to have the lump removed so has to have a mastectomy and lymph nodes removed along with reconstruction. I am 17 years old and so far have been pretty strong, however today I feel shaky and worried. My friends try there best but as they are not in the same boat they don’t fully understand. My mum has her op soon and I don’t know what to expect, either from the op or after when she has Chemo and radio… any advice or help would be great. Thank you :slight_smile: x

Hi Cherryblossom,
Really sorry to hear your mum has been diagnosed with breast cancer. I have had a mastectomy and lymph node clearance, and l am sure the operation will go well.
Try not to worry too much at the moment with regars to chemo and radio, they are all do-able!

As good as friends and family are no one really understands how we are feeling unless you are in that situation, but let your friends be there for you, they are meaning well and you still need their support, somewhere you can go to when you need a little support.

The op will be very straight forward, she will probably be in hospital for about 4 days and have a couple of drains in, removing any fluid from the lymph node removal and the mastectomy.
You mention reconstruction, is she having one?
How does she feel about the operation, has she told you her worries? have you any brothers or sisters to help?
It might help your Mum to come on this website to see all the support she would get!
Your Mum will have a breast care nurse, if you or your mum have any worries they would be willing to see you both, to talk things through.
Has she got a date for the operation?
Keep strong for yourself and your Mum
Sandra xxx

Hi Cherry blossom
Sorry you have had this news, you are understandably still trying to make sense of all this news.I have a son who was the same age as you and he felt lost and helpless after my diagnosis.(Boys dont tend to talk too well!!) Your pals sound great so lean on them too.You can use the helpline here for practical information about the surgery etc.Thet do some great leaflets. Id recommend not to search the internet at the moment-there’s too much for you to filter through and confuse you.
Maybe you could speak to someone at your local cancer support centre if you have one.
I dont know if it helps, but I found it easier to go through it myself than to watch my family being upset-maybe your mum will be the same too.
Id advise you to try to speak openly with her if you can-sometimes knowing the truth of her emotions will help you to help her.
I had my mastectomy in oct last year and Im doing fine now.Luckily I didnt need radio/chemo, and maybe your mum will be the same.
Im sure lots of other mums on here will be able to offer extra info I havnt thought of-but try to keep strong.
Cathie xx

Thank you, its so good to hear of someone who has gone through what my mum will be going through very shortly.

My mum is having the op on 20th July and yes she is having reconstruction - i dont know what to expect from that??

My mum is worried about the op as is my dad - my dad i would say is the worst of us all!! Also my mums, mum is really upset so i don’t mention it as she cries each time i do. Mum is having really bad coughing fits at the moment - this isn’t related is it?

I am an only child am afraid - so i feel so alone…

My mum has been told she is having reconstruction where they use a pump or something not exactly sure - she cant have the muscle from her back as she had scoliosis as is the same for the tummy type as her organs are all jumbled around!! x

Thank you so much for your support xxxxx

Hi cherryblossom and welcome to the BCC forums

In addition to the wonderful support you have received here you may find some of our publications useful to read with your Mum to help you to understand more about the diagnosis and treatments. I have posted some links below where you can read or order these online:*/changeTemplate/PublicationDisplay/publicationId/82/*/changeTemplate/PublicationDisplay/publicationId/88/*/changeTemplate/PublicationDisplay/publicationId/107/

Also, as Cathie has mentioned you and your Mum are welcome to call our helpline for further support and information, the number to call is 0808 800 6000 weekdays 905 and Sat 9-2.

Hope this helps

Take care


Hi cherryblossom.

My mum was diagnosed on 7th June. She had a Masectomny last Tuesday and nodes removed… She is now tube free and is awaiting her ‘results’ on the 9th July. It seems a lifetime away waiting… she had her tubes removed and now has a neat scar. She hasn’t opted for the reconstruction as they advised her not to at this stage. So strange how every doc/hosp are different.

I too am an only child but I am 34 not 17! my mum is 60. It’s been heart breaking and I cry in waves and mum does too. I am doing everything for her housework wise and trying to be strong for her. I just wish she’d have more information but I guess the 9th is the day we find out! fortunatly my hubby has the day off to look after the kids so I can go with her…

I really hope you can be strong for your Mum, it’s hard but she needs you and your Dad. Please inbox me if you want to and I wish you all the luck in the world with her recovery

Jenny x

Hi Cherryblossom,
It is only expected for your Mum to be worried about her op! we are all worried about the unexpected, and your Dad bless him! well we know about these men and how they cope! NOT! he will be just fine as will your mum and your mums mum! and YOU!
I am a lot older than your mum (63) and my mum of 90 is very worried about me! but that is what a mum does best - worry! Probably your Nan needs time to come to terms with your mums bc, it is very early days for all of you.

I doubt if your Mums cough is anything to do with her breast cancer, worry can give you lots of symptoms, coughs, aches and pains, mostly all stress related.

It is only natural you feel alone in all this, too much to cope with, but just take one stage at a time. And keep your friends close to you, they all mean well, and l am sure they are doing their best for you.
Keep posting, we will all help you through this
Love and hugs
Sandra xxx

Thank you :slight_smile:
My mum is only 46 - so pretty young in breast cancer terms. Her gran had breast cancer and her other gran had bowel cancer. Mum has also had cervical cancer but only in the early stages.

Mum has been told she will be sent home with tubes in to drain away fluid etc… is this normal and having a breast cancer nurse visit each day?

My gran has been attending all appointments with my mum - as it clearly states only one person allowed in the clinic with my mum. I have heard the results change after the mastectomy is this true… do they get a lot worse or better? Mums cancer is grade two she has been told.

thank you xxx

Hi Cherryblossom
Cant answer all your questions, but the drains were for me anyway, absolutely no problem. I went home with one and had my local district nurses every day, as Im a long way from the hospital.They will look after her well Im sure.
Maybe you could suggest alternate visits to the clinic with your gran so you can see whats happening, if they wont let you both in.
Love n hugs


Hi Cherryblossom

So sorry to hear about your mom. You should try and get her and your dad on this website. It has helped me and my family so much. I’m 44 so a little younger than your mom. I also have a 14 yr old daughter who took the news really bad. But I got her a book from the hospital “my parent has cancer” and it really helped. My husband also took it bad at first but stay positive it really is part of the battle to stay positive and talk, talk talk. Ihink part of the stigma is people hear the word cancer and authomatically link it to death, 10 years ago maybe. but you will see woman on this forum who say 10 years ago I had my OP… also each cancer is different and the treatment varies depending on so many things but it is not like one treatment fits all. my doctor has warned me that it is one step at a time, then review and decide the next step, depending of how my body and cancer reacts to treatment.
Wishing you and yr family all the best

Hi cherryblossom,

This is such a difficult time for you all but you will get through it. I was disgnosed at 42 and had chemo first to shrink my tumour because it was large. Then I had the mastectomy and removal of all my lymph nodes on that side and then radiotherapy. Throughout all the treatment I was ok and it was certainly very do-able with all the help the nurses and doctors gave me with drugs to help with any possible side effects.

My diagnosis was almost 5 years to the day after my mum’s diagnosis and I can honestly say that I found it easier being the patient than the relative. I found doing ‘practical’ things for mum helped both me and her (especially as I’m not the nursemaid type!).
3 years on, I’m loving my new life and my mum is still well. Neither of us had reconstructions so I’m afraid I can’t help you there but other ladies will be able to give their experiences.

I would echo what others have said and ring the helpline here and see if there are any cancer help places near to you. Round here we have a place called Cancercare, a charity, and they provide all sorts of support for patients, family and friends either individually or jointly or in groups. The breast care nurse should be able to help you with this.

Your friends will probably find it difficult to know what to say to you and how they can help but you’ll gradually get used to it. My work colleagues found it difficult to talk to me when mum was diagnosed but were there for me with the odd word now and again. When I was diagnosed, people found it more difficult with me being so much younger. Yes, some friends did fall by the wayside but I have some very good friends who have been sooooo supportive and they are friendships which will stand the test of time. I’m sure your mum will want you to spend time with your friends having a ‘normal, pre-cancer’ life and you must do this for your own sanity. Don’t fret about your dad - yes he will be very worried about your mum inevitably but will adapt. My dad suddenly did housework like hoovering and ironing and made small meals for mum as well and with me, he just acts normally but really enjoys having a day out with me or just going out for a brew/lunch etc.

Well, I’m sorry I’ve rambled on so much. Hope I haven’t said anything to scare you and once again, you will all get through this.


Hi Cherryblossom
Yes your Mum is young, but sadly there are a lot of younger ladies on here! but all managing with their ops, chemo’s and radio, so l am sure your mum will manage too.

Yes some ladies are sent home with their drains, usually the district nurse/breast cancer nurse comes in, that will be no problem for your mum and it is only until the drain is removed, usually 4/5 days. She may still need to visit the hospital once a week to have fluid drained from the wound, this is very normal, quick and easy.

It is good your Gran is going with her, l am sure they come home and explain everything to you, so you can all talk any worries through.

Yes results can change, but it does not mean they will! once they have the full results, hopefully a week or so after the op, then they will decide on your mums treatment.

Then she can start her treatment, whatever it may be.
Love and hugs
Sandra xxx

thank you, all your help is much appreciated :slight_smile:
my dad does not like talking about the cancer - so I avoid bringing it up with him about it. mum has been given a breast cancer video - but am unsure whether I should watch it or not.

The drain sounds good then :slight_smile: means she wont be in hospital all that time I suppose. On the 20th July i was thinking of going with her and my dad for the op - is this a good idea or would i be better of at home?

Love xx

Hi Cherryblossom,
Has your Mum watched the video? perhaps you could ask her if you could watch it with her!

The drain will be fine, depends on the hospital as to how long she will be in hospital, but l doubt if it was any longer than 5 days, and have some have said the following day! they are all different, the surgeon has probably already told her how long she will be in for, l know mine told me l would be in for 5 days.

I think you would have to speak to your Mum and Dad about you going with them, l am sure it will be very emotional for them both, and they may not want you to see them upset, but on the other hand it may give them something else to think about, with you being there. You need to talk to them about it

Take Care
Sandra xxx

Hi Cherryblossom,

Hope you and your mum are both okay. If you need to talk to someone in confidence about what you’re dealing with at the moment, then the staff here on the helpline are here to support you. Calls to the helpline are free and confidential, the number to call is 0808 800 6000 the lines open Mon-Fri 9-5 and Sat 9-2.

Take care,
Jo, Facilitator

Sorry to hear about your mum cherryblossom. I know exactly what you’re going through as I’m also 17 and two days ago my mum was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. I’m still in shock that it’s happened as like all bad things in life you never think it’s going to happen to you until it does.
My mum is due to have surgery in the last two weeks of July, which is frustrating because we all just want it gone asap. My mum has been having difficulty telling both my grandparents and my brothers, one of whom is at University at the moment and she doesn’t want to tell him over msn.
I’m really scared about losing her. She’s not just my mum- she’s my best friend. I’m really close to her and if she dies I don’t know what I’ll do. I also feel frustrated because I don’t really have any really close friends who I can confide in about this. I’m also quite confused about how to check my own breasts - I don’t know what a cancerous lump would look or feel like so I don’t know what to look for.
Luckily the doctor said that my mum has about a 75 per cent chance of survival. We’re both a little concerned however about the hospital mum will have her surgery at- the infamous Stafford Hospital you may have heard about on the news.

Hi sabrina92,

I am sorry to hear about your mum’s diagnosis and the wait for surgery - that, along with telling family, is possibly the worst bit. Re the hospital - I can understand your concern and may be wrong but think you can choose another hospital. No idea how you go about that though. Why not start a post asking for the experiences of other ladies at the same one as your mum is to go to ???

You will all get through this, honest !!!


Thank you Sabrina92, it was a shock to me at first but its sunk in and I have come to terms with it. My mums surgery is on the 20th July, is your mums after this?

I haven’t heard anything about Stafford Hospital - but that could be because i don’t really watch the news to often. As Liz says i am also sure you can change hospitals - my mum got given the choice of where to go…

Don’t worry about telling anyone, everyone takes the news bad to begin with, but the more support your mum can have, the better.

As for checking your own breasts - there are some leaflets available… which you may find useful.

I didn’t have time to read all the responses to your post but wanted to be sure you got this one piece of information. There is a group out of California called Kids Konnected ( They have materials and services to support kids with parents undergoing cancer treatment. They train kids who have been through this to help kids who are going through it now so this might be a nice place for you to get some support that is customized to teens. Their book “Love Sick” is written by teens/for teens and is available online. I’ll keep your family in my thoughts and prayers as you move through this scary time. Hang in there and rely on those who have gone through this before. They have enormous strength. They’re amazing!