Working as a radiotherapist meant Amy Horridge was all too familiar with cancer.
But being diagnosed herself was still a huge shock - thankfully early diagnosis made a huge difference.
Now, the 29-year-old is backing Cancer Research UK’s campaign ‘Spot Cancer Sooner’ which includes a TV advert.
Amy Horridge, who used to work as a radiotherapist at the Royal Preston Hospital where she is now undergoing treatment, was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in December last year after noticing a lump on her neck.
Amy, who worked at the Rosemere Cancer Centre, is now looking forward to completing her chemotherapy in time to marry British Aerospace engineer Toby Campbell on August 1. She said: “I was getting ready to go out one night and just brushed my hand against a lump in my neck, about the size of a grape.
“I realised something wasn’t right so, even though I felt well, I went to see my GP to get it checked out. He listened to my chest and also felt around my neck. That was when he discovered another, smaller lump on my right clavicle which I hadn’t noticed.”
Amy was sent by her GP for an x-ray which revealed a third lump.
“Having a background in radiotherapy I knew quite a lot about lymphoma,” she said. “We used to talk about red lights flashing when I worked as a radiotherapist, and there was definitely one flashing on this occasion. I didn’t feel right in myself.”
Following her x-ray, Amy returned to hospital to have a CT scan which showed up a fourth lump under her left armpit. This one was removed and sent for biopsy and the results confirmed it was lymphoma.
“I was fairly certain that’s what it was by that stage, so my reaction was more relief because I had an answer.”
Amy, who now works as a reception class teacher at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary in Preston, said her remaining lumps had shrunk to around half their size following the first couple of sessions of chemotherapy.
She added: “Early diagnosis is really important. The main thing now is that I finish my chemotherapy in time for my wedding in August.”
Amy’s sister Elizabeth is also supporting the campaign and will be running Race for Life, a series of 5K, 10K and Pretty Muddy events which raise money for cancer research, at Moor Park in Preston on 24 May. Early diagnosis of cancer in the North West is lower than the average for England, with only 52 per cent diagnosed early, compared with 54 per cent for the rest of the country.
For more information visit www.cruk.org/spotcancersooner