'I was 37 and had no symptoms. It's like it's not really happening'

-Credit: (Image: Helen Copping)
-Credit: (Image: Helen Copping)

Health-conscious Helen Copping always made sure to regularly check her breasts for any lumps or bumps.

The 45-year-old usually examined herself in the shower and had never discovered anything sinister before.

That was until the mum-of-one checked while lying down one day – feeling a tiny lump on her left side.

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Helen, from the Milnrow area of Rochdale, decided to visit her doctor and was fast-tracked to a local clinic for a mammogram X-ray.

Sadly, following further tests, Helen was diagnosed with breast cancer just two days later at the age of 37.

“It was awful,” she told the Manchester Evening News. “You know when you see the adverts, and they go quiet and can’t hear anything or people talking around them, it’s very true.

Helen with one of her beloved rescue dogs -Credit:Helen Copping
Helen with one of her beloved rescue dogs -Credit:Helen Copping

“There’s no history of breast cancer in my family, I was 37 and had no symptoms. It was just an absolute fluke how I found the lump.

“It was other-worldly. It’s like it's not really happening, like it’s a dream.”

Helen underwent surgery following her diagnosis in September 2016 before starting chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment.

Once her sessions were over, Helen was given medication to take and stayed in remission for five years.

But her life would be thrown into turmoil once more when she fell and hurt her hip while out walking her dogs.

Helen and her daughter Holly -Credit:Helen Copping
Helen and her daughter Holly -Credit:Helen Copping

Helen endured the pain for around five months before deciding to get it checked out by a doctor.

During an X-ray, medics found a hole in her pelvis area, prompting them to take her for more testing.

Tragically, further scans revealed the mum actually had secondary cancer in her liver – and this time it was incurable.

“I fell off a curb and hit my hip,” Helen, who works as a hairdresser, continued. “For around four to five months, I was just trying to work through it. Five years on, I felt safe because I was over the danger zone.

“It was aching and I was a bit sore, but I never thought about secondary breast cancer because I had an injury.

Helen was first diagnosed in 2016 -Credit:Helen Copping
Helen was first diagnosed in 2016 -Credit:Helen Copping

“From then on, I was referred for treatment and told it wasn’t curable, it was just a case of trying to control it and hope some of the treatments may work for longer.”

Helen went on to try seven different types of treatment but nothing helped stop the cancer growth.

Terrifyingly, a private scan revealed 80 per cent of her liver is now covered in tumours.

“None of the treatments are working,” she added. “Originally finding out it had spread was quite scary, but knowing I had treatments at the beginning was what I focused on. I took it one day at a time.

Helen lost all her hair to chemotherapy -Credit:Helen Copping
Helen lost all her hair to chemotherapy -Credit:Helen Copping

“The most scary thing for me was going to a doctor in Germany and having a 3D MRI scan which showed 80 per cent of my liver has tumours in it so I have a 20 per cent healthy liver.

“It’s hard to know this is probably the thing that’s going to end your life – it's terminal and life-limiting.

“You just have to hope the next treatment will help you and push it back. It’s really hard; there’s nothing easy about it. You don’t ever not think about it. It’s the first thing you think about when you wake up.

“When you wake up in the morning, for a minute you forget, then you’re hit by that dread. But I’ve always tried to stay positive and happy.”

Helen during treatment -Credit:Helen Copping
Helen during treatment -Credit:Helen Copping

Now running out of options, Helen is now hoping to receive private treatment in Germany in a bid to prolong her life as much as she can.

The mum is hoping to raise £5,000 for her treatment, flights, hotel costs and other medications to support her organs and immune system.

To donate, follow the link by clicking here.