A Carrickfergus mum who is battling breast cancer is urging other young women to be aware of checking themselves for signs of the disease.
Lyndsey Haighton was diagnosed in February this year at just 30 years of age.
Now 31, she first discovered something was wrong after carrying out a routine self-examination.
“My background is in nursing, so I was always aware of the importance of checking,” said Lynsey, who has two young children with her husband Thomas, Carrickfergus Senior Gateway Club leader.
“I was just going to bed one night and I found a lump on my left breast. To me it felt quite hard but my GP thought it might be a cyst.”
Faced with a lengthy wait for a more in-depth check at hospital, she booked an appointment with a private clinic, where she had an ultrasound and biopsy.
The results of the biopsy confirmed the presence of cancerous cells - something which came as a “shock” to Lyndsey, who has no family history of the disease.
“They were originally going to do chemo first and then a small operation, but when they did an MRI it showed another tumour close to my chest wall and some lymph node involvement under my arm,” she added.
On the advice of her consultant, Lyndsey underwent a mastectomy and lymph node clearance in March.
She is currently completing a final round of chemotherapy treatment, with a five-week long course of radiotherapy to begin next month.
“The chemo has been the toughest part. I’m starting my final round of it this week and there are times when it just makes it really hard to function as I usually would - I’ll be so tired and sore,” she said. “But I’ve had such great support from my husband and our whole family. My two kids [Leah and Lewis] really keep me going.”
With doctors confident that Lynsey’s treatment so far has removed all of the cancerous cells, the young mum is determined to stay positive.
And in a video showing her journey so far, Lyndsey is also hoping to encourage women to be breast cancer aware.
The video has already been shared thousands of times online, including as far away as Canada where members of her family live.
“My friends were shocked when I was first diagnosed because I’m so young, and that’s maybe a reason why a lot of people don’t think it’ll happen to them,” she added.
“Hopefully what I’ve been through will encourage more women to check themselves on a regular basis.”