A beautician has beaten cancer after her doctor dismissed a lump on her neck as being down to a cold – a month before she was diagnosed with the disease.
Paris Wells, 28, noticed the unusual bump in March last year. She immediately called her GP but was allegedly told she could only get a telephone consultation in five days’ time.
The following day, she went to an externally-run urgent care centre at The Princess Royal University Hospital in Orpington, Kent, where doctors said the lump did not ‘feel cancerous’, she claims.
Ms Wells said the doctor told her it was caused by a cold she had the week before and sent her on her way.
But Ms Wells’s aunt, who works in the Princess Royal Hospital radiologist department, rejected the doctors’ opinion and encouraged her niece to get a scan.
Results confirmed the lump was caused by stage two Hodgkin lymphoma — a rare cancer that develops in the lymphatic system and spreads throughout the body.
Paris Wells, pictured outside her treatment centre at the Chartwell Unit in Kent, was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma despite doctors putting the lump in her neck down to a common cold
Ms Wells, pictured here during treatment, said her experience was emotionally distressing and now will have counselling
Ms Wells pictured with her aunt, who dismissed doctors’ opinion that she was only suffering from a cold and insisted she get scanned
Around 2,100 people are diagnosed with the disease in the UK and and 8,500 in the US each year. Three quarters of people with the disease survive for at least 10 years.
After getting her eggs frozen, Ms Wells underwent gruelling treatment, including eight round of Chemotherapy and 17 rounds of radiotherapy, and officially entered remission at the end of last year.
She is now cancer-free and said her aunt helped her to catch the disease early enough to receive successful treatment.
‘[The lump] grew bigger and harder so then I had a biopsy with an MRI scan and a CT scan which confirmed it was cancer.
‘It’s only because my auntie works in radiology that she got me an ultrasound scan. I was diagnosed within four weeks thanks to her.’
Although she has beaten cancer, Ms Wells said she is struggling to process the emotional exhaustion she faced.
‘I am now cancer-free, but I will be having counselling to deal with life after cancer.
‘In the same week of being diagnosed my boyfriend of nine years ended things with me. It was a lot to take on as well as being told you have cancer.
‘I still struggle now with how he couldn’t even be there as a friend for me, but hopefully the counselling with help with everything.
‘Before I could start any chemotherapy treatments, I chose to have fertility treatment to freeze my eggs just in case the chemotherapy would affect me having children in the future,’ she added.
‘After completing this fertility treatment at Kings College Hospital, I started my first Chemotherapy in June at the Chartwell Unit at Princess Royal Hospital.
‘After four rounds of Chemotherapy I had a PET scan to see how I was reacting and I was clear, but I still had to complete another four rounds to finish the course.
‘After that I had to have 17 sessions of Radiotherapy, attending Guy’s Hospital every day.
‘The side effects are pretty awful until you get that under control, and knowing that my scan was clear and I still had to have four more Chemotherapy sessions was challenging.’
Ms Wells pictured after the biopsy showing the cancerous lump on the front of her neck
Ms Wells, pictured on holiday recently, said it was thanks to her aunt that she was diagnosed early enough to receive successful treatment
Hodgkin lymphoma: A cancer that attacks the body’s disease-fighting network
Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymph nodes, which is the body’s disease-fighting network.
That network consists of the spleen, bone marrow, lymph nodes and thymus gland.
- a painless swelling in the armpits, neck and groin
- heavy night sweating
- extreme weight loss
- shortness of breath
Ms Wells said she is now rebuilding her life after cancer and is fundraising for charity.
‘It’s important to not be afraid and keep a positive mindset.
‘I completed the lymphoma action walk before my treatment with my friends, and I became an ambassador for the Chartwell Cancer Trust,’ she said.
‘My family and friends have come along to charity events I have put on, and it was my best friend Lauren and my Nan who took me to appointments.
‘Everyone was waiting for me outside my last Chemotherapy session to ring the bell.
‘In the future, I would really like to set up a podcast discussing people’s journeys and what helped us through things, so when anyone else is diagnosed they can listen too.’
Hodgkin lymphoma can develop at any age but mostly affects people between the ages of 20 and 40, as well as those aged over 75.
The most common symptom of Hodgkin lymphoma is a painless swelling in a lymph node, usually in the neck, armpit or groin
Signs of the disease also include weight loss, night sweats, a persistent cough and swelling in the neck, armpit and groin.
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