Young woman discovered cancerous lump because of a beauty trend

Cancerous back pain: Dr Amir outlines signs and symptoms

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Known as Gua Sha (scrape petechiae), the skincare practice involves using a tool to scrape the skin to encourage blood flow and stimulate lymphatic drainage. Popular in beauty circles, Helen praises the practice for saving her life. “I’d started to use it to try and make my face skinnier when I noticed this bump,” said Helen.

“I wasn’t sure what it was. I get sick a lot with colds and stuff, so I thought at first it was just a swollen lymph node.”

The estate agent from Alabama, America, then noticed that she was losing “a lot of weight”.

“I was loving it thinking, ‘I’m so skinny’, not realising it was cancer,” she said.

“If I hadn’t used [Gua Sha] so early on, I’d probably have… not managed to get it looked at. I could have died.”

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Remembering back to April 2022, when medical practitioners investigated what it could be, Helen received an alarming phone call.

“I was running errands and they told me to come in immediately, that it was urgent,” she told the Daily Mail.

“I went by myself and called my fiancé to stay by his phone. The doctor came in and he sat down and said, ‘This is stage four cancer.’

“I remember having a blank stare on my face, it was such a blur… there were around 20 lumps [as the cancer] had spread throughout my body.”

Helen recalled: “I asked my doctor how long he thought I would have, and he said someone had come to him at a similar stage and they died in six weeks.

“I had my fiancé come and meet me at the doctor’s office, we were both crying.”

Helen didn’t have the heart to break the news to her family, so the doctor shared the unsettling news for her.

“I couldn’t tell my dad, it’s so hard to tell that kind of news to family members. So the doctor told my dad, and my dad told my mum and sister,” she said.

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“They just hugged me and told me we were going to get through this. It was really hard seeing them, especially my sister.”

By early June, Megan had begun a two-year course of immunotherapy at the Mitchell Cancer Institute, Alabama.

“There’s a 50/50 chance if it works for you or not,” she said about immunotherapy. “And if it doesn’t then it’s basically a death sentence.”

The treatment caused her tumours to “swell” in the beginning but, now, her cancerous lesions, which she still has, are not plainly visible.

“I’ve been having treatment for about seven months and, so far, it’s working,” said Helen.

“I have another year-and-a-half of medicine, and they’re predicting I’ll go into remission in under two years.”

Cancer symptoms

Cancer Research UK points out signs of cancer, but adds: “Listen to your body and talk to your doctor if you notice anything that isn’t normal for you.”

Key signs of cancer can include:

  • An unusual lump or swelling anywhere on the body
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained bleeding or bruising
  • Very heavy night sweats
  • Skin changes or a sore that doesn’t heal
  • A new mole or changes to a mole
  • Unexplained pain or ache
  • Croaky voice, hoarseness, or a cough that won’t go away
  • Mouth or tongue ulcer that lasts longer than three weeks
  • Coughing up blood
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Breathlessness
  • Persistent heartburn or indigestion
  • Persistent bloating
  • Appetite loss.

This list is not exhaustive, so if you suspect something is wrong, follow your intuition and book a doctor’s appointment.

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