Social media a solid support

Holly ThompsonSound Telegraph
Amy Boyd with her two children Eva, 6, and Knox, 9.
Camera IconAmy Boyd with her two children Eva, 6, and Knox, 9.

A Singleton mother of two has set up a Facebook page aimed at encouraging young women to get regular breast cancer checks, after battling with the illness.

Amy Boyd was 38 years old when she received the diagnosis of triple-positive invasive breast cancer.

She began six rounds of chemotherapy before undergoing a double mastectomy, receiving five weeks of radiation therapy treatment at Icon Cancer Centre Rockingham.

Her blog, Kick It In The Tits, was originally started to update her friends and family on her diagnosis and treatment.

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It soon gained traction from breast cancer patients and Ms Boyd started to focus her efforts on normalising cancer and its treatment, particularly for younger women.

“It was November 14, 2019 when I first found the lump. I was sitting on the couch and happened to lean on my left side and by chance felt a lump in my left breast. I assumed it was just a cyst, but thought it would be important to get checked out,” she said.

“My GP wasn’t happy and could also feel an enlarged lump under my armpit. I went to get an ultrasound. I knew things weren’t looking great after five people rushed into the room.

“I haven’t been back to work since that appointment. It was a really scary time; you don’t think you’re going to be 38 with breast cancer. I was fit, happy and healthy, going to CrossFit five times a week. I didn’t even feel slightly unwell. The diagnosis was truly devastating, especially as a single mum with two young children.”

Throughout her journey, Ms Boyd used social media and her blog to connect with fellow young breast cancer patients.

“The best therapy for me has been talking to women in similar situations. I think it’s really important to shine a light on what happens during treatment, from posting photos of the realities of side effects to providing a platform for other breast cancer patients to learn from what I’ve experienced,” she said.

“I didn’t realise how far it’s travelled or the impact it has on people, but a lot of breast cancer patients have found it from other pages and now comment with their own experiences.”

Now halfway through her final round of systemic treatment, Ms Boyd said she urged young women with breast cancer to take charge of their health and be an advocate for themselves and others.

“Make sure you ask questions and keep looking for the support you need. Go on social media and find like-minded people who are going through a similar experience,” she said.

“If you need a sounding board, these people are very good at that. There are so many amazing support services available.”

Icon Cancer Centre Rockingham is one such service.

Icon radiation oncologist Dr Eve Tiong said a cancer diagnosis was a difficult and emotional experience.

“A cancer diagnosis is a difficult and emotional time, particularly for young women such as Amy who face many unique challenges such as an inability to work and managing a young family throughout treatment,” she said.

People can find more information about Icon Cancer Centre Rockingham at iconcancercentre.com.au/centre/rockingham/?utm_source=website&utm_medium=news&utm_campaign=DIBH.

McGrath Foundation chief executive Holly Masters says the importance of support for young women with breast cancer should not be underestimated.

“Many people in their 20s and 30s don’t realise they can be diagnosed with breast cancer, Ms Masters said.

“This is why it’s so important that young women perform regular breast self-examinations, and should they receive a breast cancer diagnosis, that they have access to a McGrath Breast Care Nurse to navigate the complexities of diagnosis and treatment.”

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