Young woman needs 24-hour care after ‘ovarian cyst’ turned out to be cancer

A young woman says she will need 24-hour care after medics mistook her rare ovarian cancer for a cyst.

Rachel Nurse, 22, bravely warned others that cancer "doesn't discriminate" after receiving the devastating diagnosis last week.

The student, from Llandaff North in Cardiff, Wales, said: "People keep saying it's not fair or I'm too young — something cancer doesn't do is discriminate."

She went on: "The hospital and doctor didn't think it was cancer, they thought it was a cyst.

"I want people to be aware that it can happen to anyone at any age."

The cancer mainly affects women who are over 50 and have been through the menopause.

Rachel says she will now need 24-hour care and has been forced to give up work, WalesOnline reports.

She had just finished her Master's Degree and was running her own tutoring business while preparing for her PhD at the University of Glasgow.

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Rachel said: "I can't do simple things, I need someone to come to the bathroom with me because I might slip, it's just everything.

"I've found I'm the strongest person out of everyone, it's got to be difficult for my partner and parents to see that I'm 22 and going through this.

"The doctor said I will definitely lose my hair and be tired and fragile but I know in myself that I will be OK regardless."

She added: "I am still working and preparing for my PhD but to a less intense level. I had to drop doing a PGCE this academic year and also left a full-time position as a media manager," she says.

"However, sometimes life does not go to plan, that is OK. We do not always need to be working, hustling or being productive to continue growing. Before, during and after my treatments, I will be exercising self-love each day.

"I will be doing activities I love: reading, writing, writing in my gratitude journal, drawing, wearing hippie clothes, meditating and yoga. What cancer has taught me is tomorrow is an excuse. Anything worth doing is worth doing today.

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"It's called a silent killer cancer, women have the symptoms most of the time, especially when they are on their period, such as bloating and pain, where you don't think you have cancer.

"I've got the attitude that you just have to get on with things, I've got this get up and go attitude, I've got to do all I can before chemotherapy because I am going to be very unwell. Luckily I'm at the stage where it's very curable.

"I think around 80% of cases get found in stage three and four when it's spread to the body."

Rachel believes that one of the reasons why she found her diagnosis early on is because she listens to her body and knows when she is feeling unwell.

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She said: "One of my friends found a lump on her breast and she said that she was going to go to the doctor because even though she is young there could be something wrong which is why I am speaking about it.

"When the doctor told me, I was with my dad. I knew I was unwell and I knew that I had been feeling pain for some time but I didn't expect it to be that.

"I don't know anything about ovarian cancer, most people know about breast cancer with women but ovarian isn't spoken about as widely, so I didn't know what this means for me."

She added: "I want to make people aware that you need to look after your body.

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"You need to focus on what your bodies are telling you and look after yourself. Looking back now, I've probably been having symptoms since last September.

"I was feeling fragile, faint and light-headed quite often. I am very healthy and I don't smoke. Even if you haven't got typical causes, you can still get it regardless of how healthy you are.

"Luckily for me, everything is going to plan."

Ovarian cancer symptoms include feeling constantly bloated, a swollen tummy and discomfort in your tummy or pelvic area.

Rachel is being supported by her family and friends and her partner has set up a JustGiving page to cover her treatment costs.

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