Standing in front of a classroom of teenagers, Becki Taylor discussed the signs and symptoms of cancer in young people.
Working in her dream job as a PSHCE and Religious Studies teacher, the then-24-year-old often taught her students about health issues.
But when she found a large lump on her breast just months later, she ignored it, convincing herself she was too young to have cancer.
It was only around seven months later, when she saw a pop-up breast clinic in her hometown, that she finally got the lump checked out.
Becki, now 25, was horrified to discover she had Grade 3 breast cancer , meaning she would have to swap her beloved job for gruelling treatment.
Five months on, she has undergone six rounds of chemotherapy and is still battling the disease, with a lumpectomy scheduled for tomorrow.
During her treatment, Becki was told the chemotherapy drugs could leave her with a 20 to 30 per cent chance of not being able to have children.
She also lost her long, brown hair, but kept an incredible spirit, joking with her family members that she would be able to save money on shampoo.
She is now speaking out about her experience in a bid to encourage other young people to seek medical advice if they notice a change in their bodies.
Becki told Mirror Online: “When I first found out I had cancer, I was completely numb.
“All I could think about was losing my hair. My boyfriend was looking at me, waiting for me to cry. But I just wanted to make sure him and my mum were alright.”
The teacher, who is being supported by Teenage Cancer Trust , waited around seven months to see a doctor after discovering the lump on her breast.
Just months earlier, she had been teaching her students at North Huddersfield Trust School in West Yorkshire about cancer symptoms.
She said: “It became very clear that every person in that classroom had been affected by the disease in some way.
“The class were extremely mature and there was some very sensible responses.”
She added of her lump: “I thought I was too young to have breast cancer. It was my age and a bit of denial.
“When I looked up the signs and symptoms of breast cancer they varied to mine and so I thought nothing of it.”
While many breast cancer lumps are small and hard, Becki’s was large and moved around, leading her to believe it was harmless.
She thought it was likely a swollen gland, but when she noticed a pop-up breast clinic this summer, she decided to go to ‘put her mind at rest’.
She ended up being referred to her GP, and then her local hospital’s breast clinic, where she underwent a series of tests.
“I really wasn’t worried as I just believed it couldn’t be cancer- I told myself I’m just too young for breast cancer,” she said.
But just days later, Becki received the shock diagnosis.
“When I first found out, I was completely numb,” she told Mirror Online.
“I remember hearing the words breast cancer and my boyfriend grabbing my hand and holding me tight. We had gone to the hospital, all ready go to work.
“There was so much information to take in at once.”
Becki, who lives in Huddersfield, was devastated to learn that she would have to give up her teaching job immediately on a short-term basis.
Following her diagnosis, she had a ‘whirlwind’ of treatment to treat her cancer.
She underwent six ‘really tough’ rounds of chemotherapy, which left her with nausea, sleep problems and unable to leave her home for days.
She also started to lose her hair, but decided to ‘take control’ of the situation by shaving her head herself – something her boyfriend also did to support her.
“We both did it. We wanted to take control of it,” she said, adding that she and her partner had only been together for nine months at the time.
“He’s been brilliant.”
Despite her young age, Becki was forced to address the fact that the chemotherapy could affect her ability to have children in the future.
She said: “Before I was diagnosed I think I was quite naive to the long term side effects and at a young age some of them are hard to deal with.
“One of my main concerns throughout has been the affect the chemotherapy will have on my fertility – I was never aware that this could be an issue.
“I was told that chemotherapy could leave me with 20 to 30 per cent chance of not being able to have children.
“Having a family is something I have always dreamed of and unless you are told otherwise, you always think that this will happen when the time comes.
“I have been having Zoladex injections to put my ovaries into hibernation and induce a temporary menopause with the hope that this will lessen the chance of infertility to 10-15 per cent.
“Although this is a massive worry, for now I am trying not to think about this and am focusing on becoming happy and healthy again.”
Thanks to her treatment so far, Becki said her tumour has ‘shrunk a lot’.
Now, the brave young woman is preparing to undergo her lumpectomy tomorrow, which will be followed by radiotherapy at the end of January.
She is also looking forward to spending Christmas with her boyfriend’s family in Ireland.
Becki said she wishes to encourage other young people to check their bodies and to be aware of the symptoms of cancer.
“We know our bodies the best,” she said.
“In hindsight, at the time I was absolutely exhausted and could not put my finger what was wrong – it is so important to listen to your body.”
She added that she was put in touch with Teenage Cancer Trust during her cancer battle, allowing her to meet other young people with cancer.
This meant she felt less isolated.
“When I first got diagnosed I don’t think I realised how much I appreciated having the support there,” Becki said.
“The charity have advised me, given me information and put me in touch with other people my age. I don’t feel so isolated.”
She hopes to be able to return to her job towards the end of the academic year.
Teenage Cancer Trust works to ensure the seven young people aged 13 to 24 diagnosed with cancer every day don’t face it alone.
The charity, in partnership with the NHS, helps young people and their families deal with the many ways cancer affects the body, mind and life.
Teenage Cancer Trust gives presentations in schools so young people understand more about cancer and visit the doctors earlier.
The trust’s Education and Awareness sessions are free and available to all schools and colleges. To find out more and request a session, click here .