What cancer were you diagnosed with?

spindle cell melanoma

At what age were you diagnosed?


What has helped you to thrive?

I have remained positive throughout and have always looked at the diagnosis as what can be done and what can I do to help my recovery.

In January I begun resistance band exercises and yoga to help regain full range of movement and confidence in using my arm again. I've restarted training at Zeus gym with the help and guidance of the knowledgeable and experienced personal trainer from Code Red Fitness and begun my journey to full recovery in April.

Emma's Story

My cancer journey begins October 2020, in the midst of a global pandemic and healthcare resources under increasing pressure. I found a lump in my right armpit and at first, I thought I had overstretched or pulled a muscle as I have been training weights for a few years. 

The lump wasn't reducing in size or hurting, so I plucked up the courage and rang my GP surgery to book a telephone appointment. After describing the size and location to the doctor, she asked me to pop in the next day at the end of the morning clinic. After an examination, the doctor referred me to the breast clinic at my local hospital.

I was seen very quickly at the local hospital, probably within 2 weeks and the consultant asked if he could be honest with me, I agreed and said it's cancer, isn't it? The consultant looked a little puzzled at my bluntness, but he said yes it feels like a lymphoma mass. I was booked in for an ultrasound and biopsies a few days later. The wait for the biopsy results felt like ages but in reality, it was just over a week. The consultant then referred me to Royal Marsden London for treatment and surgery as it was confirmed as a rare form of cancer, spindle cell sarcoma grade 2.

Beginning of December my appointment came through for a consultation at Royal Marsden and they went through all of my results and the treatment plan. As the tumour had increased in size within weeks the option of radiotherapy wasn't an option but surgery was the way forward. I was planned to go in a few days before Christmas but due to an emergency case, I was moved back a day. 

So 23rd December I was taken in for surgery, I was sat in the pre-op ward and the surgeon came in to discuss the operation and informed me a nerve and some lateral muscle had to be removed too as the mass had attached to it. 

My head was spinning with all the information but I was strangely content after the process was explained. I remember coming round in the theatre post-op and being asked if I was ok, all I could reply was thank you. Into recovery and the lovely nurse who was with me and she asked if I needed anything and I asked to call my parents, cos we know no matter what age we get to they still worry, I surprised them by talking to them directly.

I was kept in for a few days and discharged on Christmas day. The team at Royal Marsden were fantastic and I can never thank them enough for their kindness throughout my time with them. Recovering at home and doing all the physiotherapy exercises I could before going back in for the follow-up appointment and to see if the cancer had spread. I feel this time to find out if the cancer had spread would be more nerve wrecking than going in for the operation.  

Thankfully, the cancer hasn't spread elsewhere but I would need adjuvant treatment (immunotherapy infusions).
The consultant confirmed that the cancer wasn't spindle cell sarcoma grade 2 but was spindle cell melanoma stage 3,  information overload from going from one rare form of cancer to another but I was being referred to a local hospital for the adjuvant treatment.