Emily raising awareness of breast cancer in the young

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A WOMAN who was diagnosed with breast cancer aged just 28, is determined to get the message out that cancer can affect anyone.

Emily Holt, now 34, of Croft Road, is one of the new faces of the Marks and Spencer (M&S) post-surgery lingerie range.

Emily Holt

Emily Holt

Her own successful battle with cancer began in 2008.

“It was the biggest shock of my life,” she said. “I had never even thought of checking myself before. I never saw breast cancer as something that happened to young people.”

Emily was travelling in Australia and New Zealand with her boyfriend but had to cut her trip short as she was constantly ill.

However it was not until August that she found a lump on her left breast and went to see a doctor.

While she was waiting for her test results she went ahead and celebrated her birthday without considering that it might be anything serious.

She said: “Everybody was saying, ‘It will just be a cyst’”.

In fact Emily had advanced breast cancer, which had spread to her lymph nodes.

She had to undergo a mastectomy removing a tumour the size of a golf ball, followed by months of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Over the last two years she has had reconstructive breast surgery.

Emily was determined to remain positive and started a blog charting her journey, and in 2009 got in touch with the charity Breakthrough Breast Cancer, determined to raise awareness of breast cancer in younger women.

Through this she was recruited as a model by M&S for the post-surgery lingerie range. Marks and Spencer has partnered with Breakthrough Breast Cancer for the past 13 years.