To make sure you never miss out on your favourite NEW stories, we're happy to send you some reminders

Click 'OK' then 'Allow' to enable notifications

Mum given devastating diagnosis after thinking an armpit lump was flu symptoms

Mum given devastating diagnosis after thinking an armpit lump was flu symptoms

The Hertfordshire mother-of-two is now under a palliative care team

When washing herself in the shower one morning before work earlier this year, Kelly Bawcombe suddenly came across a lump developing in her armpit.

Despite having not yet noticed it before, the 39-year-old put the lesion down to feeling rather under the weather - having suffered the symptoms of a mild cold in the days prior - and thought nothing of it.

Little did the mother-of-two know that within 14 days, the lump would grow to become the size of a golf ball, and would tragically be diagnosed as cancer.

Recalling the devastating ordeal - which began in March this year - Hertfordshire-local Kelly told press: "As I was showering myself, I noticed a rubbery sort of lump in my right armpit where you would shave.

Kelly discovered the lump on her armpit in March. (Kennedy News and Media)
Kelly discovered the lump on her armpit in March. (Kennedy News and Media)

"It was around the size of a grape, it wasn't painful to touch at all. I immediately thought 'oh I must be under the weather' and I just had raised lymph nodes.

"I thought I was just coming down with something like a virus or a flu."

After taking some of her daily vitamin tablets, she hoped her ailments would simply blow over.

"It actually turned out to be a pretty life-changing shower," she now admits.

When the lump began to grow, as did Kelly's anxiety, and she took a trip to her GP.

It was there that she was immediately referred to a breast clinic, where she underwent both a mammogram, and two painful biopsies.

Two days later, she was dealt the life-changing blow - she had triple negative breast cancer, which had already spread to her bones and liver.

No one in Kelly's family had previously been diagnosed with breast cancer. (Kennedy News and Media)
No one in Kelly's family had previously been diagnosed with breast cancer. (Kennedy News and Media)

"I got a call two days after my biopsies from a Macmillan nurse asking me to come in with a loved one. I knew at that point," she admitted.

"I went for a full body CT scan and was told the cancer has spread to my liver and bones too, which is classed as stage four.

"I kept thinking 'why me?'. I was a surgical nurse for years and looked after breast cancer patients for 15 years. I had no other symptoms."

Expressing her confusion over the diagnosis - being that no one in her family had suffered breast cancer before - she was then informed of a rise in young people developing the triple negative form of the condition.

"The worst runs through your head and what's the life expectancy. You think of Sarah Harding from Girls' Aloud who had breast cancer.

"You go through a dark road."

The mother is now under palliative care. (Kennedy News and Media)
The mother is now under palliative care. (Kennedy News and Media)

Despite having been informed her cancer is incurable, still, Kelly is clinging onto hope that she'll see her seven-year-old daughter Megan grow up into a woman.

"It is mind over matter. The way you think, if you remain positive, I think you do last longer. My daughter is my drive. My support network has been amazing."

Since her gut-wrenching diagnosis, Kelly has undergone three cycles of chemotherapy, as well as radiotherapy on three areas of her body.

"We hope to get to a stage where there's no active cancer in the body, it's not growing anymore but you'd still be living with cancer.

"I'm under a palliative care team but it's about managing the symptoms. My aim is to see my daughter marry, be happy, and live a long life."

On top of this, the doting mother is due to begin immunotherapy this week, and is using her experience to urge others to consistently check the areas surrounding their breasts and armpits for lumps.

Kelly hopes to see her daughter Megan grow up. (Kennedy News and Media)
Kelly hopes to see her daughter Megan grow up. (Kennedy News and Media)

"If I could give any advice, I would tell people to get rid of any body puffs and wash yourself with your hands so you can feel any lumps or masses on you.

"The nurse said there's just been an influx of young people with breast cancer. You never think it'll happen to you at this age in your 30s. I never thought it would be something this serious.

"I say to anyone now, don't dismiss it, go to your GP and get a biopsy straight away."

If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence, contact Macmillan’s Cancer Support Line on 0808 808 00 00, 8am–8pm seven days a week

Featured Image Credit: Kennedy News and Media

Topics: Cancer, Health, Parenting, Life, Real Life, True Life