Gilly Cant  Founder and chair of trustees

I was diagnosed aged 45 with IDC in my right breast, with single node involvement. Hormone and HER2 positive.I had single mastectomy, chemo and targeted drugs. Right from diagnosis I knew that none of the reconstruction options were for me, but having big breasts, I wasn’t happy being lopsided. I was lucky and my surgeon agreed to remove my remaining breast. I love living flat and will work to promote it as an equal and positive option.

I couldn’t find any support or advice about living flat within the UK, so decided to start Flat Friends, to help ladies who have had a mastectomy without reconstruction.

Sarah Coombes  Trustee and admin

I was diagnosed with Grade 3 invasive breast cancer in my right breast in December 2014 at the age of 35. I knew instantly that I wanted a bilateral mastectomy without reconstruction for both peace of mind and symmetry. Whilst my surgeon was supportive, a remark from a breast care nurse – that I should reconsider my decision to live flat because I would struggle to find nice clothes – inspired me to set up the website Flatter Fashion in January 2015, where I shares ideas on which styles suit post-surgery body shapes. I’ve been a member of Flat Friends since April 2015.

Since finishing active treatment I left my job in corporate project support to study social work at university. I live in Norfolk, and when not trying on clothes I enjoy running, cycling, swimming, yoga and walking my two dogs.

Sue Yates  Trustee and admin

I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in June 2014 and had a double mastectomy and left side node clearance a month later, My cancer was hormone positive, HER2 negative and had 3 nodes involved. Chemo and radiotherapy followed and I am currently on Tamoxifen.

I disliked the idea of plastic surgery and didn’t see the point of reconstruction, as the end result would never look as I had before. I generally go flat now, but occasionally wears prostheses, but it is the exception rather than the rule.

A cancer diagnosis is hard to take in and some big decisions regarding your body have to be made. Recon is not always the right choice for everyone and I would like to help ladies facing that decision to know that they are not alone and they can talk to us frankly and freely.

Sally Anne Watkiss  Admin

I am 52 years old, married and live in Liverpool. In March 2012, 9 months after returning from a seven month Round the World trip I was diagnosed with an aggressive occult (didn’t appear on imaging) grade 3 breast cancer. I had a left mastectomy, full lymph node clearance, 6 rounds of chemotherapy & 20 sessions of radiotherapy. Once I had finished treatment I requested my other breast be removed and after a psychologist appointment I had my right breast removed in November 2013, 3 weeks before my 50th birthday.  I am happy living breast free and rarely wear prothesis. I was a model in the 2015 Breast Cancer Care fashion show & volunteer supporting other women considering not having a reconstruction.

I am now semi retired and a non executive director on the boards of several organisations, using my Finance skills to help support others. This year I have got the Triathlon bug and have now completed 3 super sprints.

Rachel Ferry  Admin

In 2014 I found a large lump in my left armpit and was diagnosed with aggressive triple negative breast cancer in both breasts and left lymph nodes. After my last chemo I was confirmed BRCA1 and had bilateral mastectomy/lymph node clearance, no reconstruction, started 15 sessions of radiotherapy on my 42nd birthday and a few months later lost my ovaries (preventative BSO).

My aim from the beginning was to be well before Christmas, and I JUST did it! 2015 was my year to move on – then I found a new growth in my back muscle, but after more surgery and chemotherapy a scan showed my cancer had spread. I will be on treatment for the rest of my life, as my tumours are inoperable. I am determined to carry on through my treatment happy, fit and living life to the full. Happily married with two amazing young children, I love the beach and to swim – cancer does not stop me smiling and loving life.

Clare Jacobs  Admin

I was 44 when I was diagnosed in 2013 with Grade 3 ER+ IDC with lymph node involvement in my left breast. My treatment plan started with 6 rounds FECT chemo, left mastectomy with full axilla clearance and finished off with 3 weeks of radiotherapy and I’m currently on tamoxifen.

I didn’t want to put my body through the process of reconstruction, so after giving my body time to recover from all the active treatment I had a right prophylactic mastectomy in 2015 for symmetry.

I have been a member of Flat Friends from the start, and I try to help others who face a breast cancer diagnosis with my own experience, so that they can make an informed decision with regards to the path they wish to take.