Twitter banner - Care For Your Pair

In December 2019, Laura O’Brien, a nurse, midwife and a mum of 4 young boys noticed unusual changes to her right breast “I was about twenty weeks into my fourth pregnancy at the time, I wasn’t sure if what I was feeling was pregnancy related or something else to be worried about. I decided to get checked out by my GP just to be safe.”

Laura was referred on to the Breast Clinic at the Mater Hospital. As she was pregnant, there were limited tests and checks that were available for her. At this time, nothing alarming was discovered but doctors asked Laura to come back for a mammogram after she had her baby. 

“It was only after they had conducted the mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy that they found something and I was diagnosed with breast cancer. At the time my newborn son was only four months old and my eldest son was four. It was a lot to take in. A big priority was keeping things as normal as possible for my kids, so I don’t think I fully even processed my emotions at the time.” Says the Dublin native.

Laura’s treatment plan began with a mastectomy and axillary clearance. This was followed by AC and Taxol chemotherapy and radiation.

“I found the AC chemotherapy incredibly tough. I very much put my head down and told myself to just get through it all. I really wanted to try cold cap therapy to preserve my hair and keep things normal for the boys but unfortunately it didn’t work for me.

I was incredibly fortunate that I had a strong family support system around me. At the time Covid had just hit and we were in the middle of a strict lockdown which was extremely challenging.” The thirty-five year old notes.

Laura finished her treatment on the 30th of April 2021. As she was young and had a family history of breast cancer, she was offered genetic testing. 

“The results from this test came back to show I was BRCA1 positive. So after all my treatment had finished, I decided to have a preventative mastectomy on the other side and the removal of my ovaries. This was recommended for me. This has thrown up a few extra challenges in itself. Namely menopause.

The fatigue lasted much longer than I originally thought it would. I work as a nurse, so in theory I knew many of these things, but I still thought I would just go back to my normal self-straight after the treatment ended. It is only really now, over a year on that I feel like I am beginning to come back to myself.” Recalls the mum of four.

On advice she would like to share with others, Laura says “Chatting and hearing from other people who have come out the other side after cancer treatment, really helped me. There are so many people who have been through a cancer diagnosis. You are not alone.

We have a print by our front door which became my mantra throughout my diagnosis. It is the Irish word "Misneach", it translates to courage, bravery and strength. Anytime I was walking out the door I’d take a deep breath, I’d say “Misneach’' and off I’d go, and that for me helped me remember that I got this. I have to share the abundance of love that I felt throughout this time from my family, friends and the hospital. As we rise to meet our challenges, there are those who rise with us to support us.”

Following her cancer diagnosis, Laura decided to launch a new business ‘@yourhospitalbag’, this is for anyone who wants to organise their hospital bag online before being admitted to hospital whether it be overnight or as a day patient.

She said of her venture "I’m happy to be able to bring a little bit of good out of my own experience."Laura is delighted to be supporting our Care For Your Pair campaign for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. To learn more about the campaign, visit: #CareForYourPair

Host a Big Pink Breakfast

Host a Big Pink Breakfast this October to support breast cancer patients and their families across Ireland.

Find out more at:

Care For Your Pair - get involved