Katie Claydon from Barnsley, was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer in January 2021, aged just 22 years old. Katie talks through her journey of being diagnosed with breast cancer during the Covid-19 pandemic and offers her advice to other young people.

In my experience, being seen by the GP was really easy. I first found the lump on a Saturday and I didn’t think too much about it. I’d never checked my breasts before so I was unsure what was normal and what wasn’t so I asked my mum to check the lump and she seemed quite concerned. On the Monday, I rang my GP who told me to come down within the hour. The GP checked both my breasts, they felt the lump as well and I was referred on the 2 week pathway.

I feel really lucky because I was seen very quickly throughout my whole journey. I found the lump, saw my GP, had hospital tests and was diagnosed with breast cancer all within less than four weeks.

Given the quickness of everything, I’d say the only difference of being in the middle of a pandemic was everyone wearing PPE! I had to go to appointments alone when I would’ve preferred to have someone by my side but the nurses did a fantastic job of comforting and reassuring me.

I was given the results over the phone as I had to isolate, but the consultant asked me to have someone nearby for that which was very compassionate of them. In the future I’ll be able to have my mum with me for any results but will still need to attend treatment by myself.

"Despite the terrible diagnosis, I had such an amazing experience every step of the way, from my GP, to MRI scan, to my surgery".

Despite my nerves, I constantly felt reassured during my whole experience. When I was at the breast clinic, every single member of staff provided information in a calm and clear way which made it easier to understand. They put me at ease by allowing me to ask any questions I wanted, and gave me contact numbers in case I needed any further information. When the consultant rang me to give my diagnosis, she went through everything I had been through at the breast unit to ensure that I fully understood what happened. 

I can’t think of how things could have been organised better at all. Despite the terrible diagnosis, I had such an amazing experience every step of the way, from my GP, to MRI scan, to my surgery.

If someone was worried about a potential sign or symptom of cancer, I would say 100% please visit your GP. Early diagnosis is so important to beating cancer. It may turn out to be harmless, but please don’t feel like it’s a waste of time. It’s always better to get it checked and ruled out to be harmless, rather than to leave it and potentially have cancer that spreads.

"Cancer doesn’t care how old you are. Although it’s rare, it’s still possible. If you don’t already check your breasts please start now!"

Although the experience of the Covid pandemic has been scary, to me, the thought of not having gone to my GP is scarier.

Since sharing my story on social media, the response has been absolutely overwhelming. I have gained well over 1300 followers, and my posts have been shared across the world! I have had several young women message me to say that they’ve found a lump and need advice, which I am always happy to give. I have also had two young women tell me that because of my account, they went to see their doctors about abnormal lumps, both were referred to a breast clinic and both luckily were harmless! 

My biggest piece of advice to young people like myself would always be that cancer doesn’t care how old you are. Although it’s rare, it’s still possible. If you don’t already check your breasts please start now! And if you have any concerns please speak to your GP!


Thank you for sharing your story with us Katie and we wish you all the very best with your treatment.

The NHS is open and here to care for you, safely. If you have any signs or symptoms that could be cancer, please make an appointment with your GP.

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