Breast cancer is a disease that affects many people. Whether it is someone who is suffering from it, or those with family members who are going through treatment, it affects a large portion of the population. It can be treatable, depending on when it is found, but a lot of the times we don't know the signs.
Two mothers who were each diagnosed with breast cancer have spoken out about what they wished they had noticed. It's not always just lumps, there is more to watch out for.
Emily Lunn was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2016 after discovering a lump, but she hadn't connected it to the symptoms she had experienced months before. She first noticed a milky discharge coming from her nipple four months before the lump appeared.
"I had no idea what it was, I just knew it was clearly not normal," Lunn said. "My GP checked it out but told me it was nothing - it disappeared after a week."
Months later when she found the lump, she realized that it was all connected. "I waited because I really thought it would be nothing. Now I wish I pursued my worries [earlier]… being told I have stage three breast cancer was like being hit by a train. I was reeling for weeks before it finally sank in."
She has gone through treatment but it was a rough process for this mother of two. "Being breast aware is so important to me now. I'm constantly checking myself and looking for changes, anything unusual at all as I know so many things can mean breast cancer."
Luckily she has used her experience to help inform others, but that's not the only other secret symptom that breast cancer has been hiding behind...
As we said, lumps aren't the only symptom. For Katherine Vessy, she first noticed a bruised feeling around her ribs, and then "what felt like a piece of string" just under her skin. After checking with a doctor, she was found to have Mondor's disease.
She was told it was caused by injury or exercise and was relieved by the diagnosis. But then it turned into so much more. In rare cases Mondor's disease is actually a symptom of breast cancer, and when she had an ultrasound doctors discovered two lumps.
"The two lumps were very dense. I could just see two dense lumps staring back at me," Vessy said. "The last time I had an ultrasound was when I was pregnant [with the twins] but rather than seeing two heartbeats it was these two, dense horrible lumps... It was horrendous."
"All I was looking for was how long have I got left? I just didn't know anything about it. I was waiting to be given my death sentence."
Vessy has gone through treatment but it took its toll. "I feel like I am about 10 years older than I was. There's an expectation that you'll just bounce [when you stop treatment]. I just had no feeling of elation at all."