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Nursery worker Paige Heeland now has to undergo six months of chemotherapy after a biopsy discovered her Hodgkin lymphoma.
The 19-year-old, from Tunstall, Stoke-on-Trent, first discovered a small lump in the right side of her neck back in January and initially thought nothing of it.
But by the time the UK went into Covid-19 lockdown in March, the lump had grown to the size of a 10p coin. During a brief telephone consultation, doctors told Paige to keep an eye on the lump.
When she finally saw a doctor last month, the teen was sent for a biopsy and given the devastating diagnosis.
Paige is now urging others to see their doctors as soon as they notice any changes in their body - something she wishes she had done sooner.
Paige, who lives at home with her parents and younger sister, said: "I first noticed a little lump in January whilst lying in bed with my boyfriend, but it was so small that I didn't think anything of it.
"With coronavirus, I didn't want to go to the doctors but when I did eventually make an appointment, it was a phone appointment so the lump couldn't be properly examined.
"It took six months for me to get a biopsy and I do wonder if it would have been different if I had been diagnosed sooner - it might not have progressed to stage four."
Doctors told the nursery worker that while her cancer is treatable, there is a chance that the course of chemotherapy may leave her infertile. As a result, Paige is having her eggs frozen at just 19 years old.
She said: "When I found out, I was with my mum and we just broke down. I've been told that it is treatable so I'm trying to stay positive but it's really upsetting.
"I'm currently in the process of having my eggs frozen as I've been warned that the chemotherapy may leave me infertile - I never expected to have to freeze my eggs at 19 years old.
"I've had to leave my job and the chemotherapy is going to start soon; my whole world has been turned upside down."
Paige now wants to share her experience as a warning to others, to highlight the importance of seeking out proper medical care for any health issues or concerns.
"I want to urge people to go to the doctors as soon as possible if they notice any changes in their body; even if you're not worried about it, just go and be safe," she said.
"I should have been seen much quicker than I was but with coronavirus, all appointments are telephone appointments so it's important to call as soon as you notice any changes."
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