Personal stories

My daughter was 15 years old when I got cancer

Posted by Guest Author on 11 March 2021

Parenting a teenager can be difficult at any time, but when the parent has a cancer diagnosis it can add more issues for both parent and teen to cope with.

By Gloria

My diagnosis

I was 54 years old when I found a lump in my right breast. It was late September and in October 2018 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was a total shock and the icing on the cake, because it came at a time in my life that was already so difficult. I didn’t know how I was going to cope.

Nothing prepares you for those words, “You have cancer.” I just cried.

My daughter was 15 and at the stage where she was finding teenage life difficult. Our relationship was so strained I thought I was going mad. I just thought that life couldn’t get any worse. I was alone with a teenager and now a cancer diagnosis.

My family were not living close to me so I went to all my hospital appointments alone and felt I had to be strong around my daughter. She knew I was upset but I kept the crying for when I was on my own.

Taking to a teenager about such a difficult situation when they are going through big life changes themselves is so tough. The hug my daughter gave me when I told her that I had cancer was so beautiful – it had been a while.

She was getting ready for her GCSEs and was very stressed. As a mother, it was important that I told her what I was going through but in a way that could put her mind at ease. It wasn’t easy.

I went from being told that I would have a lumpectomy (which was not too invasive) to needing a mastectomy and losing my nipple. Then more surgery to give me a new nipple and to adjust my other breast to make both breasts look similar.

I was heartbroken

But through it all, having my daughter to think about made me stronger. I had to think of her as well as myself. And this gave me the strength I needed to be strong.

Thank you Ines, you have been my rock at the most difficult time in my life.

I think it was helped by the fact that after a while, going through cancer for me was just like having a cold. And I think I did a good job at the most difficult time in my life.

Now two years on

Now 2 years on I have a new breast and hopefully, my phase 2 will happen soon. My daughter is now at university and I feel lucky to be alive to tell my story.  It’s not easy but my goodness, cancer and teenagers show you how strong you can be when you didn’t know you had it in you to be.

Further information

To return to the homepage of our Information Hub, click here where you can access more helpful information, practical advice, personal stories and more.

Future Dreams hold a range of support groups, classes, workshops and events to help you and your carers during your breast cancer diagnosis. These are held both online and in person at the London-based Future Dreams House. To see what’s on offer and to book your place, see here.

March 2021 (Reviewed February 2024)

This article was written by a guest author based on their own experience of breast cancer and its treatment. It is important to note that this is one person’s experience and that whilst there may be commonalities between the experiences of different people, everyone has a different diagnosis/treatment plan/general experience. The information and content provided in all guest articles is intended for information and educational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice. It is important that all personalised care decisions should be made by your medical team. Please contact your medical team for advice on anything covered in this article and/or in relation to your personal situation. Please note that unless otherwise stated, Future Dreams has no affiliation to the guest author of this article and he/she/they have not been paid to write this article. There may be alternative options/products/information available which we encourage you to research when making decisions about treatment and support.


Sylvie Henry and Danielle Leslie founders of Future Dreams breast cancer support
Support awareness research

Donate to those touched by BREAST cancer

Sylvie and Danielle began Future Dreams with just £100 in 2008. They believed nobody should face breast cancer alone.  Their legacy lives on in Future Dreams House.  We couldn’t continue to fund support services for those touched by breast cancer, raise awareness of breast cancer and promote early diagnosis and advance research into secondary breast cancer without your help. Please consider partnering with us or making a donation.

Donate now