Teacher issues stark warning to young people after cancer diagnosed at just 22
MINI CATEGORY 2
By MIRROR | 5 months ago
A young teacher who mentioned her 'funny looking mole' on her collarbone to her doctor during a routine appointment discovered she had cancer.
Darcy Shaw, from Salford, was persuaded by her mum to ask her GP about it while she had an appointment for something else.
It was not thought to be anything serious but her doctor decided to test the mole as a precaution and a month later they discovered that she was suffering from skin cancer.
She was diagnosed in February since undergoing an operation which may have saved her life, Manchester Evening News reports.
The 22-year-old is now urging other young people not to ignore possible cancer symptoms even while the NHS is under pressure during the pandemic.
“I think if I hadn't already been going about another issue, I would have put it off for some time," she said.
"I felt a bit silly initially pointing out a funny looking mole as I didn't know that changing moles were potentially a sign of cancer.
"I would encourage young people to familiarise themselves with the signs as it may save their life. You should never think that you're wasting someone's time getting something checked out.
"It's easy to pass off something you've noticed and put it down to stress or a common illness, especially in times like these when you might feel that you can't go to the doctors or it's not as important.
"But getting something checked out sooner rather than later is so important.”
Darcy was left with scarring on her neck and chest which she feels very self-conscious about.
So in an effort to ease her worries earlier this year, the Teenage Cancer Trust surprised her with a Zoom encounter featuring Princesses Eugenie and Princess Beatrice.
Darcy had a chance to connect with Princess Eugenie, who also has scars, and the discussion changed her outlook.
She added: “Even though her scar wasn’t from cancer, we connected through our scars and I found that really empowering.
"I know other famous people who have had surgeries but who don’t often show their scars, so to have Princess Eugenie talking about it openly is a really positive thing.”
Dr Louise Soanes, Director of Services at Teenage Cancer Trust, has echoed Darcy's warning.
She said: “Cancer is thankfully rare in 13 to 24-year-olds, accounting for just 1 per cent of all cancer diagnosis. However, because cancer is less common in young people, they often have to visit their doctor up to three times before they are referred to a specialist.
“Cancer referrals were down by as much as 75 per cent in England across all age groups and though referral rates are recovering, there is no sign of coronavirus subsiding.
"We’re worried that young people’s chances of survival - or long-term consequences - could be affected as their cancer goes undiagnosed.
“Coronavirus doesn’t stop people getting cancer. Look out for lumps, bumps or swellings, unexplained tiredness, mole changes, persistent pain and significant weight change. If you are worried, contact your doctor as soon as possible. Early diagnosis can save lives.”
Despite its rarity, cancer is still the leading cause of death from disease in 13 to 24-year-olds but risks can be significantly reduced with early diagnosis.
Through its campaign #BestToCheck, the Teenage Cancer Trust is urging all young people to look out for:
Lumps, bumps or swellings
Significant weight change
If these affect you then visit your doctor.
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