Bianca Hinton was living her dream of working as a videographer and had plans to move to America when her world was turned upside down.
After Christmas she was diagnosed with ‘aggressive’ triple-negative breast cancer when a 2 cm tumor was found.
The fit and healthy 25-year-old from the Gold Coast said her only symptom was a “hard, round lump” on her left breast that “appeared out of nowhere.”
Bianca, who has no family history of the disease, told FEMAIL she first noticed the lump while on a holiday cruise through Papua New Guinea with her family.
“I got out of the shower and was drying off with a towel when I felt it. So I told my mom and she was immediately concerned,” she said.
Now Bianca is on a mission to warn others about the common warning signs and to be diligent with health checks.
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Videographer Bianca Hinton was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer earlier this year after a 2cm tumor was found in her left breast
The prognosis came as a complete shock, as the 25-year-old has no family history of cancer or disease
Fortunately, Bianca and her family were at the end of their vacation so she was able to see a doctor within a few days of finding the lump.
‘I took Mum to the GP who did a physical breast exam but didn’t say much – in hindsight he might have known. I had an ultrasound the same day,” she said.
After two biopsies and tests, Bianca was told she had cancer.
“The timing of all this was so awkward because it was between Christmas and New Years. But I stayed positive and assumed I would have surgery to get it sorted out,” she said.
“I wasn’t really worried about it and didn’t feel sick at all. I felt normal.’
At the time, she was fit and healthy working as a videographer and had plans to move abroad to America
On January 9, at a fertility clinic, she received an official diagnosis to confirm the type of cancer.
“It was an intense day. I considered saving some of my eggs, but when I got the results of my PET scan, doctors urged me to start treatment as soon as possible,” she said.
“I decided not to put off chemo because I had to put my life above everything else.
“It’s not impossible to have children after treatment, it just reduces your chances, so there’s still hope.”
Bianca said triple-negative breast cancer is considered life-threatening because it is aggressive and accelerates the rate at which the cancer can grow and spread.
Common symptoms included breast lumps, swelling, breast or nipple pain, dimpling of the skin, and nipple discharge.
Two days after the prognosis, Bianca met with an oncologist to discuss a treatment plan and opt for six months of intensive chemotherapy.
Bianca said triple-negative breast cancer is ‘considered life-threatening because it is aggressive’ and accelerates the rate at which the cancer can grow and spread
“I’ve been on weekly treatment for 12 weeks and am now on my last phase of high potency dosing,” she said. Bianca hopes that sharing her story will impact the lives of others
What is Triple Negative Breast Cancer?
Triple-negative breast cancer is cancer that tests negative for estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors, and excess HER2 protein
These results mean that the cancer’s growth is not fueled by the hormones estrogen and progesterone
This cancer does not respond to hormone therapy drugs
Treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and immunotherapy
Source: breast cancer.org
“I’ve been on weekly treatment for 12 weeks and am now on my last phase of high potency dosing,” she said.
Medical research and treatment for this disease has improved, improving survival rates. However, Bianca said early detection is key.
“My follow-up scans that I will do in a few weeks will determine the success and outcome of my diagnosis. However, I feel positive,” she said.
After chemotherapy and testing, she will likely have a double mastectomy to reduce the chance of the cancer returning.
“Everything happened so fast that I haven’t had a chance to think about it. It’s been five months, but it still hasn’t hit me,” she said.
Bianca says the “hardest thing” about the whole ordeal is seeing how the prognosis has affected her loved ones.
“It’s hard to see what this has done to my family, but I’m grateful for their continued support.”
Bianca hopes that sharing her story will impact the lives of others.
“There are no criteria for breast cancer — just because you’re young doesn’t make you invincible,” she said.
“And early detection is everything, so be sure to check yourself regularly.”
How to examine your breasts yourself:
Step 1: Start by looking at your breasts in the mirror with your shoulders straight and your arms on your hips.
This is what you should look for:
- Breasts that are their usual size, shape and color
- Breasts that are evenly shaped with no visible deformity or swelling
If you notice any of the following changes, bring them to your doctor’s attention:
- Dimples, wrinkles, or bulging of the skin
- A nipple that has changed position or an inverted nipple (pushed in instead of sticking out)
- Redness, pain, rash or swelling
Step 2: Now raise your arms and look for the same changes
Step 3: As you look in the mirror, look for fluid coming out of one or both nipples (this could be watery, milky, or yellow fluid or blood)
Step 4: Next, while lying down, feel your breasts, use your right hand to feel your left breast, then your left hand to feel your right breast. Use a firm, smooth touch with the first few finger pads of your hand, keeping the fingers flat and together
Step 5: Finally, feel your breasts while standing or sitting
Many women find that the easiest way to feel their breasts is when their skin is wet and smooth, so they like to do this step in the shower
Cover your whole chest with the same hand movements as described in step 4
Source: breast cancer.org