“I was lounging at home, watching TV, resting my hand on my chest when I came across it,” Rosalba told Express.co.uk.
“The blood drained from my face, I’d never felt anything like this before. I asked my husband to feel it and he too seemed alarmed.”
Quick to contact her doctor, Rosalba was promptly referred to her local breast centre, where she underwent an ultrasound and biopsy.
“After an agonising week, I was called and told there was no evidence of cancer,” Rosalba recalled.
Yet, six months later, following a routine mammogram, the doctors identified cancer that had spread to her lymph nodes.
READ MORE: Expert warns of foods that ‘should be avoided’ if you have high blood pressure
“After being told the cancer had spread, I felt terrified,” Rosalba shared. “I cried.”
Rosalba thought of her child, Roberto, who was only 12 at the time of her shocking diagnosis.
“This is what upset me the most,” Rosalba confessed, worried her son would lose his mum at such a young age.
Determined to beat cancer, Rosalba underwent two surgeries and started chemotherapy in July 2021.
“The surgeries, chemotherapy and hair loss I could cope with, but the thought of not being here for my son was unbelievably upsetting.
“It was at this point my fabulous GPs, who I contacted almost daily, decided to put me on anxiety medication.
“Since then and after finding out the cancer had not spread to any further nodes, I was so much happier and positive.”
In February 2022, the mum started 18 rounds of radiotherapy, which Rosalba described as “simple and straightforward”.
Rosalba is adamant she “wasn’t nervous or frightened” as the “actual radiotherapy takes seconds”.
She explained: “You are very well prepared for it in advance. In my case, I was taught how to practise breathing, and holding my breath to lift my chest as far away from my heart as possible.
“I experienced no side effects other than a slight discolouration to my chest.”
While Rosalba hasn’t officially been given the “all-clear”, she has been discharged.
Her only requirement is to take Tamoxofen for 10 years, which will be reviewed annually, and to have yearly mammograms.
Rosalba is supporting Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life 2023, in partnership with Standard Life.
It’s the 30th year of Race for Life. Who will you race for? Sign up to your local event at raceforlife.org.