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Harpenden author writes book to help other women through breast cancer

PUBLISHED: 09:00 12 October 2019

Sara Liyanage from Harpenden wrote 'Ticking Off Breast Cancer' to help other women who have received a breast cancer diagnosis. Picture: Supplied

Sara Liyanage from Harpenden wrote 'Ticking Off Breast Cancer' to help other women who have received a breast cancer diagnosis. Picture: Supplied

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A Harpenden woman diagnosed with breast cancer aged just 42 has written a book offering advice to women in the same situation.

Sara Liyanage from Harpenden wrote 'Ticking Off Breast Cancer' to help other women who have received a breast cancer diagnosis. Picture: SuppliedSara Liyanage from Harpenden wrote 'Ticking Off Breast Cancer' to help other women who have received a breast cancer diagnosis. Picture: Supplied

Sara Liyanage, now 45, set up the 'Ticking Off Breast Cancer' website in November 2017, towards the end of her treatment, writing about her experiences of juggling her diagnosis, her job and being a married mum-of-two.

She said: "I didn't know anyone who had breast cancer - 42 is quite young to get it. I set up a website with practical advice for women going through breast cancer treatment and their friends and families.

"I found putting together the website really therapeutic because it's not just about me, it's about helping others by using my experience. I started to write about what had happened to me personally.

"It's a huge shock to go through something like cancer and everyone deals with it in a different way, and my way was writing."

The book, also called 'Ticking Off Breast Cancer', chronicles Sara's life from the day of diagnosis and throughout her treatment, with accompanying to-do lists at the end of each chapter.

These lists offer tips and advice for people with cancer, as well as details of ways family and friends can offer practical help and support.

Sara said: "What I'm saying in my book won't be the same for everyone, but what I wanted to say is you're not alone in what you're going through.

"It's a way of coping together. I know people find comfort in reading personal accounts - it's like talking to somebody, especially for people with cancer under the age of 55 who don't have that network."

Sara works part-time as a lawyer and has two children aged 12 and 14, and when she joined support groups for people with breast cancer she always found she was the youngest person there, so wanted to write the book for other women of a similar age.

She said: "I would really like friends and family to read the book and get an insight into living with breast cancer treatment. It's so hard to know what to do.

"My sister said she wished she'd had the book when I was going through it. It's really lovely to get messages from people who say that it's helped them."

To find out more go to www.tickingoffbreastcancer.com

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