A woman with incurable breast cancer is trying to raise as much awareness as she can after being diagnosed with the disease in her 20s.
Clare Sacco, from Newcastle, found out she had cancer a few days after her 25th birthday in 2019.
She learned this year that the cancer had returned and is now incurable. The stage four cancer has also spread to her lungs and liver.
Ms Sacco is determined to raise as much awareness about cancer in young people as possible and is trying to live her life to the full by creating a “living list” of things she would like to do.
She has also been raising money for Trekstock, a charity which supports people in their 20s and 30s who are living with cancer.
Launching a TikTok account to share her journey, she said: “I’m absolutely desperate to raise more awareness of breast cancer and secondary breast cancer in young people in particular.
“So often people my age are over-looked because of their age. If something isn’t right you know your body better than anyone else, and it can happen at any age. I’m really determined to raise as much awareness as possible.”
She added: “I’m determined to live my life to the fullest. I’ve created a ‘living list’, which is loads of things I want to do to make sure I’m getting the most out of every single day.”
She told ITV Tyne Tees: “It’s a really strange age to be diagnosed. You see a lot in the press about children with cancer diagnoses and the rest of the focus seems to be on people who are 45 and upwards. You don’t see a lot about people in their 20s and 30s.
"Getting that diagnosis makes it quite isolating for you, especially when you’re on a treatment schedule."
Ms Sacco has just started taking part in a specialist exercise programme run by the charity Trekstock, which provides support for people in their 20s and 30s who have been diagnosed with cancer.
Running in Newcastle, the RENEW scheme was created by cancer experts and is being provided by Heathworks and YMCA North Tyneside.
The eight-week programme is free and takes place the Health Resource Centre in Benwell and YMCA North Tyneside, on Church Way in North Shields.
Watch Helen Ford's report
Jemima Reynolds, Head of Programmes and Engagement, Trekstock, explains why RENEW is so important: "Research shows that physical activity can help with issues such as fatigue, side effects, quality of life and mental health and support the prevention of recurrence in breast, bowel and prostate cancers by 40 percent.
"But knowing what exercise to do, how much and how often, can be daunting for people with a cancer diagnosis and while they’re receiving treatment.
"We’re excited to be partnering with two trusted and brilliant charities in the North East so as many people in their 20s and 30s can get the tools and support they need to live better with and beyond cancer.
"Our experts know that the struggle is real and at every class, they will tailor what you’re doing to meet your individual needs.”
Ms Sacco added: "I think keeping a healthy body and a healthy mind is really important to deal with the side effects of treatment and to keep feeling more yourself when you’re going through something that is so unusual and I think just giving you some confidence to feel more comfortable in yourself as well to give you the confidence to go and do something."
Donna Ayre, health and wellbeing manager for YMCA North Tyneside said: “We are excited to be partnering with another charity, Trekstock to deliver their eight-week RENEW programme for young cancer survivors to help them with their recovery.
"We are passionate about health, fitness and wellbeing, and making sure that everyone can access state-of-the-art facilities with highly qualified instructors and reduce any possible barriers to exercising when diagnosed with cancer.”
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