A woman who complained of a sore back for six months tragically died after being diagnosed with secondary breast cancer.
Suzanne Cavanagh, 41, discovered a lump in her breast after suffering from a pain in her spine. She tragically passed away from secondary breast cancer on May 10 after her first diagnosis in 2019.
Suzanne pre-wrote birthday cards for the people she knew before she died and was a dedicated Liverpool FC fan.
Suzanne worked for HMRC all of her life and became a determined campaigner for secondary breast cancer, which kills 1,000 women in the UK each month.
She has become the face of an initiative to spread awareness and, along with 19 other secondary breast cancer patients, is featured on a billboard on Rice Lane this week. The initiative is called “Fighting to be Heard” and is run by the charity Make 2nds Count, which aims to give hope to those living with secondary breast cancer.
Suzanne previously said: “I chose to join the campaign to raise awareness as not enough is being done for secondaries. It gave me the chance to meet ladies from all over the UK in a similar position to myself.”
The women feel they are treated as second-best since their form of the disease is largely unknown. Secondary breast cancer – also known as metastatic, advanced or stage IV breast cancer – is a cancer that has spread beyond the breast to other parts of the body and is incurable.
On average there are around 35,000 patients in the UK currently living with this form of the disease. A YouGov poll commissioned by the charity revealed 38% of the British population were unaware of secondary breast cancer – and the 21% who were didn’t know the common symptoms.
Signs of the disease may include ongoing headaches, blurry vision, tiredness, lumps in the breast area, breathlessness, loss of appetite and bone pain.
Leanne’s close friend, Radio City host Leanne Campbell, said: “I’m so proud of these ladies, especially my beautiful friend Suzanne, shouting to be heard at a time when they already have a huge fight on their hands. This billboard in Liverpool is a giant step forward for this campaign and meant so much to Suzanne.”
Make 2nds Count was founded by Lisa Fleming, 38, after she was told she had primary and secondary breast cancer – despite having no previous diagnosis, warning signs, or lumps.
She resolved to raise awareness and build a campaign with women across the UK, all of whom shared the same desire to stand up and fight to be heard.
She said: “We desperately need people to be aware of this forgotten form of breast cancer.
“We need to change the narrative, raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of this disease. Primary breast cancer is well documented. Secondary breast cancer is incurable.
“It’s like a relative that no one really wants to speak about, but without education this disease will continue to destroy the lives of so many. Fighting To Be Heard in Liverpool is also personally close to my heart.
“Ultimately, my thoughts go to Suzanne’s family: we are so immensely proud of her and of how hard she worked to share her experience and make a difference to others.”
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