Survivor Stories: “I Didn’t Think I Would Be Battling Breast Cancer At 29”

Survivor Tracy Hoo, 31, was diagnosed with stage two to three breast cancer at just 29 years old. Read about her story here

(Photo: Digital Negative)

When Tracy’s aunt got diagnosed with stage three breast cancer in August 2016, it made the 29-year-old office manager at a financial services job board realise she should get checked too.

“I went home and did a self-examination. That’s when I felt something protruding on my right breast. My husband felt it too and said it’s just part of my rib, but my left side didn’t have the same thing.” 

Just two weeks later on 30 August, Tracy was diagnosed with stage two to three breast cancer, which had spread to a few lymph nodes.

“My first thought was: Why me? I’m so young and I’m not prepared to die yet; I still have a lot of things to do.”

“I cried, because I couldn’t believe it. At age 29, going for mammograms and anything to do with breast cancer was the last thing on my mind. I was definitely not within the at-risk group; I don’t smoke or drink alcohol, I don’t have a family history of breast cancer (my aunt and I both did genetic testing and it was negative).”

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The point to note here is also that my breast looked normal at the time, even though the cancer had already spread to the lymph nodes,” Tracy says, noting that the surgeon actually had to do a multiple mammograms and ultrasounds to find the tumour, which was sitting behind the nipple. 

Tracy had been married less than a year before her breast cancer diagnosis. (Photo courtesy of Tracy Hoon)

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“My first thought was ‘Why me? I’m so young and I’m not prepared to die yet; I still have a lot of things to do.’ I had just got married in November 2015, just moved into my new BTO flat and just started a new job. Everything was falling into place and then this happened.”

“I didn’t know how to break the news to my parents because I felt a strange sense of guilt. Like did I not look after myself enough? I’m supposed to look after them till they’re old, but I didn’t know if I would even survive this illness.”

She also felt sorry for her husband, as they had been married for less than a year, and her mother-in-law was hoping for grandchildren.