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'I Didn't Realise It Was Cancer'

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Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 7:00am 11th September 2013

A Bodmin teenager has told Pirate FM how she thought the symptoms of a tumour on her collar bone were down to life as a student.

Sam Smith was nineteen when she was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

Figures show it is the most common cancer in under thirties.

Sam is in remission now - and wants to raise awareness.

She said: "It took so long to settle in - I think it's only really just hitting me now.

"They kept mentioning Lymphoma and I thought, 'Well, that sounds like eczema, so maybe it's something to do with my skin or my glands and I'll get a cream or antibiotics or something and I'll be fine.'

"At the end of August last year they said: 'You've got Lymphoma - don't worry it's Hodgin's Lymphoma. It's a good kind of cancer to have.'

"I thought - 'Cancer? What are you on about?'

"And then, within a week I was starting the whole process of chemotherapy."

Lymphatic cancer affects more young British people than any other form – with around 850 young people diagnosed in the UK each year, however Lymphoma in young people is highly curable.

But with studies in recent years showing that more than a third of people under the age of 30 were not even aware that lymphoma is a form of cancer, The Lymphoma Association will aim to use Lymphatic Cancer Awareness Week to get young people talking about the disease.

It’s estimated that approximately 75,000 people in the UK are currently living with the disease and the incidence of lymphoma is increasing year on year, however, there is no explanation for this.

Despite this, there is hope for many people diagnosed with lymphoma, especially if it is spotted early. The condition often responds very well to treatment and in many cases can even be cured.

In 2005-2009, around 62% of men and 66% of women in England survived their non-Hodgkin lymphoma for five years or more, while around 82% of men and 84% of women in England survived their Hodgkin lymphoma for five years or more.

The most common symptom of lymphoma is a painless lump or swelling, often in the neck, armpit or groin.

Other common symptoms include excessive sweating (especially at night), fevers, unexplained loss of weight, loss of appetite, unusual tiredness, a cough or breathlessness and persistent itching.

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