Solicitor Eva O’Donovan knew there was something terribly wrong but doctors couldn’t pin down her symptoms.
When eventually Eva, now 63, went private to pay for a scan she found she had a lump the size of a grapefruit.
Eva, of Golcar, had cancer but her symptoms was so general it went undiagnosed for months.
After the £500 scan she was diagnosed with diffuse large B-cell non-Hodgkins lymphoma – and the disease was at stage four, the final stage.
Eva, who lives with long-term partner James Norton, underwent eight sessions of gruelling chemotherapy at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary (HRI) and the mass was destroyed without the need for surgery.
Now Eva, who has since retired and is a trustee at the Carlile Institute in Meltham, is backing a cancer charity’s campaign to highlight lymphoma.
“I have been very lucky,” said Eva. “The diagnosis I received saved my life. I had been feeling tired and sweaty and was vomiting and at first it was put down to food poisoning.
“After about six months and waking up in the night I decided to pay for a scan and that’s how they identified the lymphoma. There was a mass as big as a grapefruit.
“Because the symptoms are not very specific doctors often struggle to diagnose this disease. But if I have learned anything it is that if you feel unwell and know inside there’s something wrong you must push all the way.
“I was fortunate that I could pay for treatment privately but I know that’s not always possible. If you are living week to week you don’t necessarily have that money available.”
Eva was diagnosed back in 2008 but is now clear of the disease. She has nothing but praise for the staff at HRI and said: “They were just brilliant.
“I was diagnosed as stage four, the final stage but I still had a positive outcome. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Don’t give up.”
Eva admitted she had no idea lymphoma was a cancer and with no known cause – and more than 60 sub-types of the disease – it was hard to diagnose.
Lymphatic cancer – also referred to as lymphoma – is the UK’s fifth most common cancer and every part of the body can be affected.
Eva is supporting the Lymphoma Association’s What’s your Type? campaign during Lymphatic Cancer Awareness Week, which runs all this week.
Almost 19,000 people are diagnosed with lymphoma every year and the charity is concerned that lymphatic cancer patients in the UK are not receiving the vital information they need to understand their type of cancer or make an informed decision about their treatment and care.
For more information go to www.lymphomas.org.uk