Doctors thought cancer was tropical disease

Laura Battle got a shock when her diagnosis arrived but now's she's running to spread awareness of condition. Picture: Joey Kelly
Laura Battle got a shock when her diagnosis arrived but now's she's running to spread awareness of condition. Picture: Joey Kelly
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A BACKPACKER who feared she had caught a tropical disease was stunned to be told she was suffering from cancer.

Shocked scientist Laura Battle, 28, thought a lump on her neck was linked to her overseas adventuring in Africa and South America.

So, when doctors delivered the bombshell she had Hodgkin Lymphoma she was devastated.

She said: “You don’t expect to hear something like that when you’re only 27 years old. It’s difficult to explain how it feels to be given that sort of news.”

Laura, who lives with her partner Luke Schultz, 30, a renewables engineer, had to undergo 12 bouts of chemotherapy over six months and has now been in remission since December.

She is looking to celebrate her return to good health by taking part in Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life Twilight – an after-dark women-only fundraising fun run to be held in Holyrood Park.

The medical research scientist from Dalry hopes her case will inspire other women never to give up.

She said: “When I got back from travelling I noticed I had a lump on my neck, but I didn’t have any other symptoms. I went to the GP and I wasn’t exactly dismissed, but they assumed it wasn’t anything serious.

“Eventually I was referred to an ENT (ear, nose and throat) specialist and, because I have been travelling, they had put my problems down to being some kind of tropical disease, but a biopsy came back and I found out I had Hodgkin lymphoma.”

Laura is delighted she was placed on a treatment trial at the Western General Hospital which could benefit other patients.

She added: “As a scientist, I know how important trials are to improving treatments for patients and so I really wanted to be a part of that. I also knew that as part of the trial I would be monitored more closely. And although the doctors said I was doing well on the trial, my body often felt otherwise and the side effects from all the drugs I was taking really took their toll on me.”

Susan Johnstone, Cancer Research UK’s Scotland events manager, hopes the October 26 run will be well supported.

She said: “This is the first time we have held Twilight in Scotland, and we need mums, daughters, sisters, aunts, friends and colleagues to step out together and really hit cancer where it hurts.”

dawn.morrison@edinburghnews.com