Lauren Barrett from Tralee was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was just 21-years-old.
She now wants to encourage others to be conscious of their health and to get regular checks for cancer, no matter the age.
She told The Hard Shoulder that, while the diagnosis was unexpected, checking for lumps on her breast was "in [her] head" because of awareness campaigns at the time.
Her mother had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer when Barrett was just 16-years-old, so she "kind of knew there was a risk there".
"I decided I wanted to get tested just to have the information and know for myself."
"I just had a feeling"
But before Ms Barrett could get the test, she found a lump on the side of her left breast while having a shower.
"I kind of knew when I found it, straight away I just had a feeling."
Still, Ms Barrett and her mother were not expecting it to be cancerous, due to her young age.
She was referred to hospital for tests and awaited the results during her third year college exams, which were online at the time due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"I was waiting for a call and hadn't gotten it so I rang the hospital."
"They said because of my age I was deemed not urgent so I was put on a 12-week waiting list."
Ms Barrett didn't want to wait so she went to a private practice where she was seen within six weeks of finding the lump.
"I had scans and biopsies done and then I got a call the following week to say: 'Come back to Cork tomorrow and don't come by yourself'."
Ms Barrett said that upon hearing the diagnosis, "all I cared about at the time was was I going to lose my hair".
For Ms Barrett, the business of appointments was helpful in getting through the difficult experience.
She did a round of IVF, "because they don't know how the treatment is going to affect you fertility".
"It was very busy and I just went with wherever they wanted me to go", she said.
"To be honest, I never had the mortality questions in my head."
While her mother had previously been diagnosed with cancer, she had survived. This meant Ms Barrett "hadn't had a negative experience of it".
Life after cancer
In all, Ms Barrett at 16 sessions of chemotherapy, 15 sessions of radiation and several operations.
After taking a year out of college to have treatment and recover, she's back for her final year of a Neuroscience degree in University College Cork and she is "settling in nicely".
"I love having the normal people problems again", she said.
Having received a "triple negative" test, Ms Barrett doesn't have to undergo ongoing treatment.
She's now back at football too and even did the '100k in 30 days' challenge with Breast Cancer Ireland earlier this year.