Victoria Power, 33, received the shocking news just weeks after celebrating being five years free of the disease, having beaten breast cancer in 2017, at the age of 27.
The mum, from Great Wyrley, Staffordshire, had found lumps the size of “grains of rice” in the side of her right breast.
Treatment including chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and a double mastectomy proved successful and she had been living cancer-free ever since.
But in December 2022, Victoria was repeatedly coughing and had lost weight, which raised worries.
On New Year’s Eve, she went to A&E for an ECG, chest X-ray, CT scan, and blood tests – but was told her CT scan was clear, and went home with antibiotics.
But just four days later, a routine check-up with her breast surgeon found “shadows” on her lungs and liver.
It was confirmed to be stage four cancer, and this time it is incurable.
“I was in complete shock,” Victoria, a nursery nurse, told NeedToKnow.co.uk.
“After being told four days earlier my CT was clear I was relieved, so I was smacked in the face with the fact that there were shadows on my lungs and liver.
“After several further scans and tests, it was confirmed there was cancer in my lungs, liver, lymph nodes, and bones.
“I was devastated.
“My life is now shortened considerably, being only 33.
“They haven’t given me a life span estimate, but I have never asked either, because it’s not something I want to know.
“Once again my immediate worry is for my little boy and him not having his mummy by his side as he grows up.”
Victoria, who is mum to Jacob, 8, started chemotherapy in February and has just had another CT scan to check how she is responding to treatment.
She said: “It’s been difficult to come to terms with things.
“After the primary diagnosis and treatment, you carry on with life and each check-up is a relief to get through.
“You hit five years and you think, ‘Wow! I made it to this milestone that everyone talks about.’
“The secondary diagnosis was really hard to come to terms with.
“I worry about my little boy growing up without me, but my oncologist has been reassuring me he has ‘tools in his box’, and I 100% trust him and follow his guidance.
“I have seen many young ladies in similar positions to mine and they are living five years or more down the line. I take positivity from that.
“Treatment is going to help — I really try to keep positive and enjoy every day I can.
“Physically, I can’t do the job I love at the moment, I feel sickly, and I tire easily which is difficult. I have aches and pains that I didn’t have before.”
Now, Victoria is sharing her story to help raise awareness for the BRCA2 gene mutation – which carries an increased risk of breast cancer in both men and women, as well as several other types of cancer.
The mutations are present in every cell in the body and can be passed genetically.
Victoria said: “Due to my young age at diagnosis, my surgeon sent me for genetic testing.
“During this, it was confirmed I have the BRCA 2 breast cancer gene which increases my risk of breast cancer by approximately 70-80%, and of ovarian cancer by around 50%.
“Had I known about this before my cancer diagnosis, I most certainly would have opted for a risk-reducing surgery.
“The gene it transpired has been passed on by my dad, and has also been passed on to my sister, who is now going to go for a risk-reducing breast surgery in the near future.”