Nobody expects to get cancer. However, as someone who obsessed over health and wellbeing, receiving a breast cancer diagnosis at the age of 31 came as a huge shock for Faye Lindfield.

When stretching in yoga led her to seek medical advice, Faye was diagnosed with Multifocal Primary Breast Cancer in September 2023. 

Faye had a positive mindset throughout her chemotherapy sessions at The Christie.

Now, having successfully completed 8 months of treatment, Faye has been given the all clear to ease back into exercise. In October, she will take on her first ever 13.1 miles at the Manchester Half – raising funds for The Christie, where she underwent chemotherapy treatment.

Faye shared her story to raise awareness about breast cancer in younger women and support The Christie whose care she received she describes as “truly incredible”. 

From a young age I have tried to be proactive in my approach to staying fit and well. Whilst I enjoyed my fair share of drinking and partying in my early 20’s, in more recent years I’ve prioritised activities that support my physical and mental wellbeing: hitting my daily step count, strength training, practising yoga, getting good sleep and eating well.

So when I was diagnosed with Multifocal Primary Breast Cancer in September 2023, I was shocked and confused. As a health-conscious 31-year-old and self-confessed hypochondriac, I never thought this would happen to me. 

The first signs of anything being ‘wrong’ started during yoga classes in late 2022, when I began to notice subtle differences in how certain poses or stretches felt in my right breast vs the left. I regularly checked myself and could not feel any specific lump, and so was not overly concerned to begin with. It wasn’t until I started experiencing slight pain in the same breast in January 2023 that I went to see my GP.

Exploring Sicily on a trip to celebrate the end of chemotherapy.

After an examination, I was told that there was nothing to be concerned about and so, reassured, I forgot about the symptoms for a little while. However, I had a feeling that something wasn’t quite right and so I went back to my GP in August 2023. At this point, I got a referral to the breast clinic for checks, since it was the second time I’d presented to the GP with symptoms. I had an ultrasound scan which identified an 8mm mass, which was confirmed as ‘DCIS’ breast cancer (an early form of the illness). Further MRI scans and biopsies revealed I actually had three invasive breast cancer tumours, as well as areas of DCIS, in the right breast. 

One of the first questions I asked my consultant following the diagnosis was ‘Why has this happened to me?’. I was confused and frustrated as I thought I’d been doing all the ‘right things’. Unfortunately, my consultant explained, that is the ‘million dollar question’: why? And so, if there’s one thing I’ve learnt through my diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer, it’s that cancer doesn’t discriminate.

Faye’s final chemotherapy session at The Christie.

The support I have received from friends, family and my community has been truly amazing, and this is where The Christie comes into my story. Before my own experience, the only perception I had of cancer diagnosis and treatment had come from TV and films, where the stories seemed scary, depressing and dramatic. However, when I went into the clinic at The Christie, it didn’t feel that way at all. The team were so welcoming; I felt safe and was so well looked after from day one. The Christie became a ‘safe haven’ for my partner and I and the Drs, Nurses, Surgeons, Oncologists, Radiographers, Chemo Nurses & hospital staff can only be described as pure angels – I am in awe of their work. 

I’m also thankful to other young women such as Peloton Instructor Leanne Hainsby & Professional Dancer Amy Dowden, who have recently shared their own breast cancer stories publicly. I believe that this visibility of breast cancer in other young, fit & healthy women gave me the courage to listen to my body and advocate for those further checks. I hope by sharing my story and raising awareness, more women will get early diagnosis and treatment. 

I have recently started to get back into exercise following my treatment; first up is the Manchester Half which will be my first time running 13.1 miles! I’ve always had an on-off relationship with running, but I find I often fall back on it when going through tough times. Running helps me to switch off mentally and so it’s been amazing to be able to enjoy the privilege of moving my body again. 

We’ll see how I feel closer to the event, but right now I’m feeling excited rather than daunted. I’m maintaining the mindset that if I can get through 8 months of cancer treatment, I can do this. I’ll also be running with my partner Jack which is a huge support and motivation; he has been my rock throughout everything and so it will be really special to complete this challenge together, along with some other family and friends too.   

Hiking in Penrith, 1 week after fertility preservation surgery, in preparation for chemotherapy.

We’ll all be raising money for The Christie, to support the vital work they do for cancer patients and their families. By sharing my story, I hope to raise awareness about breast cancer and remind people that it can happen to anyone, at any time, but early detection saves lives. In particular, I want people to know the following: 

  • Cancer can affect ANYONE. As someone who obsessed over health and wellbeing, I never thought it would happen to me. 
  • Getting to know your own body is so important. Only you know what’s normal for you. 
  • Early detection saves lives. Do your regular checks and attend your screenings.
  • There are amazing people, doing amazing things for people affected by cancer – The Christie is just one example.
  • Research and funding is SO important, to continue making the incredible strides we are in diagnosis & treatment. 
  • You are so much stronger than you think you are!

Hiking in the Lake District with partner Jack & golden retriever, Willow, 2 weeks post mastectomy.

I’m really looking forward to the Manchester Half, where I’ve heard the atmosphere is amazing! It will be a special day to be a part of (I’ll probably cry happy tears the whole way around); a great way to celebrate what my body can do, and more importantly, to raise awareness and do my bit for The Christie!

Thank you Faye for sharing your story!