What cancer were you diagnosed with?


What age were you diagnosed?


What has helped you to thrive?

Getting involved with various charities and meeting other young adults who have had similar experiences.

Helen's Story

I was 20 years old at my diagnosis. In my second year of university and living away from home, I had been unwell for around 8 months before my diagnosis. After trips back and forth to different hospitals, it wasn’t until I was visiting my mum at home when I woke up one morning and my face and neck had swollen so much I could barely see. After a trip to my local hospital, I was told again that they couldn’t see anything wrong. I knew this was not normal and pushed for a scan, which they reluctantly did. I was the called back to the hospital that afternoon, being told they had in face seen something abnormal on my scan. Three hours later, I am being told it is lymphoma, a type of cancer.

I was rushed to UCLH where I had my consultant, clinical nurse specialist and a CLIC Sargent social worker waiting for me. As I had just turned 20, I was too old to be admitted onto the Teenage Cancer Trust ward so was put on a haematology ward with my own room. I then had a chest biopsy, bone marrow biopsy, a number of CT and PET scans and finally got an official diagnosis of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma or more specifically, primary mediastinal b-cell lymphoma. I had to start my chemotherapy straight away as this is an aggressive cancer but has a really successful outcome. I had my first round in hospital and after 1 and half months as an inpatient, I was aloud to go home and have the rest of my chemotherapy as an outpatient. Chemotherapy had shrunk the majority of my cancer, but not all of it. I then had consolidation radiotherapy to eradicate the last bits and on 2nd December 2016, I was told I was in remission.

4 years on, I am now back at university studying psychosocial community work, with an ambition to work with young adults facing cancer. What has helped me thrive is getting involved with different charities, trying to help other young adults and making sure their voices are heard. Meeting other young people my age was incredibly helpful, they inspire me to keep doing what I am doing.