Lymphoma: newly-wed woman, 28, shares surprising symptom that led to blood cancer diagnosis
Courtney Wilson-Calder had originally been told a bulge on her neck was swollen lymph nodes
A newly-wed bride was diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer after finding a lump on her throat - just days before she turned 28.
Courtney Wilson-Calder had got married just weeks before the diagnosis while she was waiting for test results.
She said she spoke to doctors in March this year after becoming increasingly concerned about a bulge on her neck.
But they told her she had “swollen lymph nodes”, and it took a further four months until specialists decided she could have cancer, once it grew large and more painful.
The hairdresser then made the snap decision to marry her fiance, Liam Calder, as she awaited further tests to determine her prognosis.
And crushingly, when she noticed another lump on her neck a few days before her 28th birthday, doctors then confirmed that she had rare Hodgkin lymphoma.
‘’I’m ready to give this my all’
The disease, which accounts for less than one per cent of all new cancer cases, develops in the network of vessels and glands that are spread throughout the body.
And Courtney, who later published a viral TikTok video describing her experiences, said she wanted to encourage others to “check their lumps” and trust their “gut feelings”.
She said: “Lymphoma symptoms can be hard to diagnose and recognise.
“I will shortly be starting treatment and my journey to getting better, I have a positive treatment plan in place and I’m ready to give this my all.
“[But] I want to encourage everyone of all ages to check their lumps and believe in their gut feeling.”
Courtney, from Leeds, West Yorkshire, after she found a bump on her neck in March this year, it took until 18 August before doctors gave her a possible cancer diagnosis.
She explained: “I first found a lump in my neck in March but the doctor thought it was a swollen lymph node.
“When it grew and became painful, I went to see a specialist who told me it could be cancer.
“I spent time away from work with loved ones who helped me come to terms with what I could be facing.
“I spoke to my fiancé and I decided I wanted to get married before I started any treatment.”
After arranging her wedding in just five weeks, Courtney said doctors had told her the bump was non-cancerous, leaving her “happy and relieved”.
‘We didn’t expect what was coming next’
But after she tied the knot, and just days before her 28th birthday, she noticed another lump or her neck and was then diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma.
She said: “I relaxed, my friends planned me a hen do, and I was so happy and relieved.“
“I married the man of my dreams, but we didn’t expect what was coming next. I found another lump and after another biopsy.
“I got a call to go to the hospital for my results a week earlier then expected. I was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma the day before my 28th Birthday.”
In the short time since her diagnosis, Courtney, her friends and family have taken comfort in fundraising and raising awareness of lymphoma.
And when Courtney shared her story on Tik Tok, the video instantly went viral, receiving hundreds of comments and over a million views.
Her Justgiving page also quickly exceeded its £500 target and currently stands at over £4,500.
Sarah Thorn, Community and Partnerships Manager at Lymphoma Action, said the charity was thankful to Courtney for raising awareness of the condition.
She said: “Everyone at Lymphoma Action is thinking of Courtney and wishing her the very best with her treatment.
“We want to say a huge thank you to her for so bravely raising awareness of lymphoma and fundraising for us, especially when she has only just received her diagnosis”.