A woman has told how six months of night sweats and back pain turned out to be signs she had aggressive cancer.
Hannah Bird, from Bristol also lost weight, had rashes and continuous coughing, and experienced back and chest pain.
The 24-year-old said she ‘went to the doctor three to four times a week’ and was dismissed repeatedly before she was eventually given an x-ray and scan.
She was diagnosed with Diffuse large B cell lymphoma – an aggressive cancer – just weeks after getting engaged.
The travel content creator had to put countless holidays on hold – but is now cancer free and completing a tour of bucket list destinations.
Hannah Bird (above), 24, from Bristol also lost weight, had rashes and continuous coughing, and experienced back and chest pain
Hannah is urging people to get a second opinion if they are not satisfied with doctors’ diagnosis.
Hannah said: ‘You know it is bad when they ask for someone to come sit with you while the doctors give you the news.
‘It wasn’t a shock – I was relieved to finally have a diagnosis. It didn’t hit me until I started chemotherapy.
‘I was more devastated that I couldn’t travel; we had so many plans. We were looking to buy a house but financially we were screwed. Our lives were destroyed for a year.’
Hannah had been suffering from night sweats, losing weight, rashes and continuous coughing for six months.
She was on holiday in Paris with her boyfriend Charlie Camper, 23, a professional golfer, when he popped the question.
But she was so unwell she couldn’t enjoy it fully. Hannah said: ‘I felt so bad that day, I slept for most of it.
‘Our engagement plans got destroyed by my diagnosis. We didn’t have a normal engagement experience.’
Now that she has the all-clear, Hannah is completing her bucket list of travels that were put on hold during her treatment and her first stop was Turkey
Hannah (left) was diagnosed with Diffuse large B cell lymphoma – an aggressive cancer – just weeks after getting engaged to Charlie Camper (right)
Hannah (above) is urging people to get a second opinion if they are not satisfied with doctors’ diagnosis
Hannah (above) had been suffering from night sweats, losing weight, rashes and continuous coughing for six months
In March 2022, Hannah was away skiing she started suffering back and chest pain and later caught pneumonia.
The doctors gave Hannah an x-ray and a CT scan, on her return and the following day she was told she had cancer, on April Fool’s Day 2022.
Hannah said: ‘The tumour was in my left lung – it took up three-quarters of my lung.
‘We found out I was stage four. I was so relieved that they found out what was wrong with me.’
Originally doctors thought that Hannah was suffering from lung cancer, they then did a biopsy and three weeks later she was diagnosed with Diffuse large B cell lymphoma – the most common subtype of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
The doctors (above) gave Hannah an x-ray and a CT scan, on her return and the following day she was told she had cancer, on April Fool’s Day 2022
Originally doctors thought that Hannah was suffering from lung cancer, they then did a biopsy and three weeks later she was diagnosed with Diffuse large B cell lymphoma – the most common subtype of non-Hodgkin lymphoma
Hannah was accepted onto a clinical trial where she was given immunotherapy non-chemo-invasive drug.
Instead of using chemotherapy, this drug is less invasive, it works by helping the immune system recognise and attack cancer cells.
She said: ‘At my halfway scan my tumour had shrunk by 80 per cent.
‘By September 2022, I had finished chemotherapy all the cancer was gone which was not normal.
‘I am the only person in the UK to have all of their non-Hodgkin’s cancer gone with chemotherapy alone.’
Hannah was cleared to travel on October 2022 and has CT scans every 12 weeks to check for any signs of cancer. Pictured: The couple in Turkey
The couple (above) will be travelling to the Philippines in May and then to Antarctica for their honeymoon in January 2024
Hannah said if you think that something is wrong, request a referral or second opinion by another doctor
Hannah was cleared to travel on October 2022 and has CT scans every 12 weeks to check for any signs of cancer.
After not being able to travel for a year, Hannah and her boyfriend Charlie are completing a travel bucket list.
Hannah is set to marry on September 16, 2023.
Hannah said: ‘My partner said I can have a bucket list trip once I have finished my immunotherapy, another one once I had finished my chemotherapy and then another one when I got the all clear.
‘The first trip we went to Turkey, it was absolutely amazing and then the second trip we went on was to the Arctic circle in January.
WHAT IS LYMPHOMA?
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’s.
Both have much better prognoses than many types of cancer.
WHAT IS HODGKIN’S LYMPHOMA?
Hodgkin’s 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 1,950 people each year in the UK, and 8,500 a year in the US.
Hodgkin’s lymphoma is most common between the ages of 20 and 24, and 75 and 79.
Five-year survival rates:
The survival rates are much more favorable than most other cancers.
- Stage 1: 90%
- Stage 2: 90%
- Stage 3: 80%
- Stage 4: 65%
- 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
WHAT IS NON-HODGKIN’S LYMPHOMA?
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma can occur anywhere in the body but is usually first noticed in the lymph nodes around sufferers’ necks.
Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma affects around 13,700 new people every year in the UK. In the US, more than 74,600 people are diagnosed annually.
It is more common in males than females, and it is commonly diagnosed either in a patient’s early 20s or after the age of 55.
Five-year survival rates:
Survival can vary widely with NHL.
The general survival rate for five years is 70 percent, and the chance of living 10 years is approximately 60 percent.
- Painless swellings in the neck, armpit or groin
- Heavy night sweating
- Unexplained weight loss of more than one-tenth of a person’s body
- over 75
- have a weak immune system
- suffer from celiac disease
- have a family history of the condition
- have had other types of cancer
It depends on the number and locations of the body affected by Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Therapy typically includes chemotherapy.
‘It is possible to have your bucket list, you can travel whilst going through treatment – you just have to plan ahead and make sure you are close to hospitals if things go wrong.’
The couple will be travelling to the Philippines in May and then to Antarctica for their honeymoon in January 2024.
Advising others with cancer symptoms, she said: ‘Get a second opinion, I went to the same doctor every single time, I think if I had gone to a different doctor I would have been diagnosed a lot sooner.
‘I went to the doctor three to four times a week – I was so desperate.
‘If you think that something is wrong, request a referral or second opinion by another doctor.’