A TEENAGER who was told she had asthma when in fact it was cancer has praised the Teenage Cancer Trust for its support.

When Sophie, 19, from Basildon found herself struggling to breathe two years ago, she knew something wasn’t right.

She said: “I started experiencing breathlessness. I went to the doctors, but they thought it might be asthma.

“I started getting tired all the time and a blood test showed I had a B12 deficiency. I also had a cough, but doctors said it would go away by itself.

“I was so persistent with the doctors. I just knew something wasn’t right.

“When I experienced a severe pain in my chest, I went back to the doctors again. They referred me for an X-Ray which showed that I had a mass on my chest. A CT scan and a biopsy showed that I had Hodgkins lymphoma.

“It should have been picked up earlier as I had been to the doctors five or six times over eight months before I was diagnosed.”

Her persistence paid off and she is now in remission after six rounds of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Speaking of the experience she added: “I was just shocked. I was referred to the Teenage Cancer Trust unit at University College London Hospitals and I was surprised by how many young people were there.”

Now home for Christmas, the brave young woman was able to get through such a difficult time thanks to the Teenage Cancer Trust, where she was able to meet other young people in a similar situation to her own, which stopped her feeling isolated.

Many of Sophie’s friends went off to university, but she had to postpone her plans for treatment.

Now Sophie is studying biological sciences at Reading University, and hopes to be able to help other young people.

She added: “Being on a unit designed especially for young people helped me during my treatment. “I had six rounds of chemo and 16 days of radiotherapy, so I spent a lot of time at the hospital.

“My time spent on the Teenage Cancer Trust unit seemed a million miles away from the other oncology wards I’d been on. I had a mini fridge, an Xbox and a flat screen television in my room. The facilities made it easier to pass the time.

“I feel so lucky to have been given my treatment at a Teenage Cancer Trust unit. It changed my outlook on my situation. Suddenly, I wasn’t so alone, all the other people were dealing with the same things. That’s when I started feeling better about it all, it was a life saver for me, literally.

“It was hard to watch my friends go off to uni and have the best time. I made a friend who was in the same situation as me and it helped to be able to talk to her about it.”