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'I match with guys in Tinder then have to work out how to tell them I have cancer'

Readers Lounge - By Mirror | March 3rd 2020 at 01:00:00 GMT +0300
Zoe Noble (Image: Zoe Noble)

When Zoe Noble matches with a guy on dating apps, she chats to them about the things that are important to her.

She tells them about her friends, her family, her hobbies and her job.

But there's another key part of her life she makes guys aware of before they set a date for their first meeting - that she has an inoperable brain tumour.

She always tells her dates before she meets them (Image: Zoe Noble)

The 26-year-old, who lives in Salisbury, was diagnosed with the tumour in 2018 and has spent the last two years going through gruelling chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

While doctors can't operate to remove the tumour, the treatment has done as they hoped and it is now stable with 'no activity'.

Dental nurse Zoe is hoping to get her life back to normal - which includes going out and dating.

Speaking to Mirror Online, she said: "I knew I was coming to the end of my treatment time. I thought it would be a good idea to see what's going on.

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"It felt like returning to normality talking to people.

"I locked myself away for a year. Speaking to new people was refreshing.

"At the beginning it was nerve-racking."

She doesn't mention it on her profile (Image: Zoe Noble)

Zoe doesn't have anything about having cancer on her profile, but says she will always tell a match before they meet up.

She said: "I feel it’s the right thing to do and they can make the decision of where they want to go from there. It is actually never as bad as you think it might be.

"But it’s still a horrible conversation to have.

"If they meet me they would know straight away that something was wrong because my balance is off."

Zoe has been on a few dates so far but is still waiting to meet The One.

Despite not finding that special spark just yet, she's really enjoyed getting out there again.

She said: "Surprisingly I haven't had any negative reactions, which I always think is going to happen.

"Obviously people are entitled to think what they think. If it's too big for them to deal with that's absolutely fine."

She's been surprised by how kind people have been (Image: Zoe Noble)

Zoe found out about the tumour after being ill for two years, throwing up every morning and fainting regularly.

At first doctors said it was down to a number of different things including stress and anxiety, and it wasn't until she went on holiday with her family that they realised how bad things actually were.

"It was really frustrating because I knew something was wrong. It's not normal for someone to throw up every single day.

"I just felt like nobody believed me."

She went to the doctor’s again when she got home and they noticed that the left side of her face had dropped, which finally made the panic bells ring.

She was sent for a scan and in December 2018 was given the devastating news that she had a brain tumour.

"The diagnoses was shattering really, but in a way a relief that I knew there was something wrong with me and I knew I wasn't going crazy."

She understands that it may be too much for some people to deal with (Image: Zoe Noble)

A few weeks later she had surgery and then started radiotherapy.

"It was quite traumatic. I managed to keep a brave face throughout all of it but it was exhausting.

"You spend so much time alone with it. It just gets to be too much."

Zoe now has scans every three months to check things haven't changed and this will hopefully decrease soon.

She said: "That could change and wake up again. Hopefully it doesn't."

She's back to work part-time and hoping to increase her hours soon, but still feels the effects of the treatment she's had over the past two years.

She said: "I'm still really struggling with fatigue and the side effects.

"I lost all my self-confidence, I gained weight and I lost my hair."

She was diagnosed with the devastating tumour in 2018 (Image: Zoe Noble)

Dating website DatingRoo has looked at the stigma attached to dating with cancer.

A spokesman said: "Doing this research and talking with many young and single cancer survivors, I realized that navigating the online dating world for someone who is single and diagnosed with cancer is extremely challenging.

"They are dealing with low self-esteem and physical and emotional changes that make it even harder to go out on dates and start a conversation or relationship with someone new. However, those who overcome these fears and put themselves in the dating market very quickly realise that it is not as bad as they thought.

"On the other side, when someone goes on a date with a cancer survivor and a conversation about cancer starts, it is understandable that they have questions, doubts and fears as well. Most people don't want to get involved, and there are also some who are fine with that.

"Everyone is dealing with it differently and that is ok, but one bad experience shouldn’t take you away from looking for love and relationships over dating apps.

"When it comes to which dating app to choose if you are single and diagnosed with cancer, I would say that cancer shouldn’t influence that decision.

"You are not your cancer. It shouldn't determine who you are. You should choose a dating app according to your sexual needs, relationship goals and personality. It can be serious or casual dating, it doesn't matter.

"What matters is the other person who you will meet in the online dating world. You shouldn't run away from dating apps, they can give you back your lost self-confidence, provide you with some fun moments and even be the start of a beautiful and loving relationship."

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