Real Life: Coping with Cancer in Body

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Young Scot Youth Panel member Sarah, 17, visits the Teenage Cancer Trust unit in at the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre and interviews 22-year-old Zoe* who is being treated in the facility.

How did you find out you had cancer?

I first noticed that my eyesight was blurry; looking up and down, my eye felt sore and my eyelid had begun to swell. Initially, the doctors thought the tumour was a mucus sack. However, at the hospital, the results concluded that it was in fact a sarcoma.

What treatment are you having?

Chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Although it is helping to combat the tumour, it can leave me feeling tired. I also lost the use of some nerves in my hand, lost some of the muscle in my legs, and lost sight in my left eye. 

In what ways have your family and friends supported you?

At first, they were understandably upset and anxious. My mum wouldn't let me go anywhere on my own unaccompanied. 

My friends recently wrote in the local paper about my condition. They also organised a sponsored walk which 50 people attended to raise money for cancer research.

Even having been through such a long process, I don't like to dwell on it. I really appreciate it when people treat me normally, and don’t treat me differently because I’m getting treatment for cancer.

What would you say to other young people who have cancer?

My advice to other young people who have just been diagnosed with cancer is to stay strong and positive. It can be tempting to dwell on the negatives but keep focusing on the positives.

*Please note that the name has been changed to ensure anonymity.