Doctors told me I had a COLD… but it turned out to be cancer: Beautician, 28, claims NHS medics dismissed tell-tale lump in her neck
A woman has claimed she was diagnosed with cancer just a month after a doctor dismissed a lump on her neck as being down to a cold.
Paris Wells, 28, noticed the unusual bump this March and went to have it checked out immediately.
The beautician called her GP but was allegedly told she could only get a telephone consultation in five days time.
She went to an externally-run urgent care centre, at the Princess Royal University Hospital in Orpington, Kent, the following day instead.
Doctors there said the lump did not ‘feel cancerous’, she claims.
Ms Wells said the doctor told her it was caused by a cold she had the week before and sent her on her way.
But the lump grew larger and harder over the next few weeks.
Ms Wells then claims she asked her auntie, a radiologist at the same hospital, if she could help arrange CT and MRI scans to double-check in April.
Results confirmed it was caused by stage two Hodgkin lymphoma — a rare cancer that develops in the lymphatic system and spreads throughout the body.
Paris Wells, 28, from London, has been diagnosed with cancer just a month after a doctor told her a lump on her throat (pictured right) was caused by a cold, she claims
Ms Wells said doctors in March told her the lump was caused by a cold she had the week before. But CT scan results in April confirmed it was caused by stage two Hodgkin lymphoma — a rare cancer that develops in the lymphatic system and spreads throughout the body
Around 2,100 people are diagnosed with the disease in the UK and and 8,500 in the US each year.
Three quarters of people with the disease survive for at least 10 years.
Ms Wells will start chemotherapy in the coming months after having her eggs frozen for fertility treatment in May.
She said: ‘As soon as I noticed the lump the next day I went to [urgent care] to get checked because I phoned my doctors and they could only offer me a telephone appointment in five days time.’
The cold meant she could not come in to her doctor’s office, with restrictions on people with Covid symptoms coming in still in place.
Ms Wells said: ‘The A&E doctor said because I had a cold the week before it was due to that. He also said it doesn’t feel cancerous and I was sent away.’
Common colds can cause the lymph nodes in the neck to become swollen as the body fights infection, causing lumpy appearances.
Since her diagnosis, Ms Wells has been fundraising for cancer charities. Pictured: The lump on Ms Wells’ neck
Ms Wells will start chemotherapy in the coming months after having her eggs frozen for fertility treatment in May. Pictured: Ms Wells after she underwent the MRI and CT scans
The glands — which can swell in the neck, armpits and groin — act as a filter for viruses and bacteria, trapping them from reaching other parts of the body.
Discussing the lump, Ms Wells added: ‘It grew bigger and harder so then I had a biopsy with an MRI scan and a CT scan which confirmed it was cancer.
‘It’s only because my auntie works in radiology that she got me an ultrasound scan. I was diagnosed within four weeks thanks to her.’
She added: ‘My mum came with me to the appointment at the hospital for biopsy results, they asked me if I knew about Hodgkin’s lymphoma and I said yes and the doctor said that’s what your results have come back to be.
‘I was just crying with my mum but they said they can treat it with chemotherapy. I chose to have my eggs frozen for fertility treatment and I completed that in May.’
She went to an externally-run urgent care centre, at the Princess Royal University Hospital in Orpington, Kent, when she first noticed the lump
Hodgkin lymphoma can develop at any age but mostly affects people between the ages of 20 and 40, as well as those aged over 75.
The most common symptom of Hodgkin lymphoma is a painless swelling in a lymph node, usually in the neck, armpit or groin
Signs of the disease also include weight loss, night sweats, a persistent cough and swelling in the neck, armpit and groin.
Actor Michael C. Hall — the star of Dexter — was treated for the cancer in 2010, going into remission after undergoing chemotherapy.
The disease starts in the white blood cells and spreads through the lymphatic system.
It is named after Thomas Hodgkin, an English doctor who first identified the disease in 1832.
Greenbrooks Healthcare, which runs the urgent care centre at Princess Royal University Hospital Ms Wells visited, has been approached for comment.
Hodgkin lymphoma: A cancer that attacks the body’s disease-fighting network
Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymph nodes, which is the body’s disease-fighting network.
That network consists of the spleen, bone marrow, lymph nodes and thymus gland.
There are various types of lymphoma, but two main ones: non-Hodgkin’s and Hodgkin.
Hodgkin lymphoma is a type of cancer that starts in the white blood cells. It is named after Thomas Hodgkin, an English doctor who first identified the disease in 1832.
It affects around 2,100 people each year in the UK, and 8,500 a year in the US.
Hodgkin lymphoma is most common between the ages of 20 and 24, and 75 and 79.
The survival rates are much more favorable than most other cancers.
- a painless swelling in the armpits, neck and groin
- heavy night sweating
- extreme weight loss
- shortness of breath
- lowered immunity
- a family history of the condition
- those who are overweight
- stem cell or bone marrow transplants