or years, women have endured red, painful rashes after shaving, but for one young woman from the United Kingdom, her rash was more than just razor burn. It was life threatening.
Rhiannon Douglas, 21, of Staffordshire, England, noticed a red rash splashed across her legs. Rhiannon didn’t think much of the red bumps on her legs at first, thinking it was nothing more than a pesky shaving rash. But this splotchy rash didn’t fade after a day or two. Instead, it got worse. Much worse.
Her rash and the pain associated with it became so bad she decided to see a doctor. The physician told her she actually had a rare condition known as Henoch-Schonlein purpura, or HSP. This condition causes blood vessels all throughout the body to swell and bleed into the skin, causing the rash. But the doctor was wrong…
The doctor prescribed painkillers to help ease Rhiannon’s pain, but they didn’t work. She also began showing new symptoms, including weight gain and a back ache. Physicians suspected she had arthritis or meningitis, even a host of other potential illnesses, but tests revealed nothing. Finally, Rhiannon sought relief at the hospital, she said.
“The rash on my legs was really painful at first, but then after a while, my legs also started to swell and I suffered bad pain in my joints. I was struggling to get up and down the stairs and I became breathless really easily.”
After being hospitalized, tests showed Rhiannon didn’t actually have HSP. Instead, there was an 8.5-centimeter-long tumor growing in her chest. It was cancerous.
Doctors told the then 20-year-old that she actually had a rare type of Hodgkin lymphoma that directly impacts the body’s vessels and glands. The rash that tipped her off to something being wrong actually was an extremely rare symptom of the type of cancer she had. Rhiannon was floored.
Screenshot via YouTube
If she hadn’t have developed the rash, doctors might have taken even longer than they did to diagnose her with cancer. At that point, it might not have been treatable. Rhiannon knew she had to prepare for the battle of a lifetime–one that could cost her her life.
“When I was told that I had cancer, I felt numb and never thought I would hear those words at just 20-years-old. But I was determined to fight it and there and then I decided to change my lifestyle around. I wanted to do everything I could to get better.”
Body scans have shown that the tumor is slowly shrinking since her initial diagnosis. While Rhiannon continues to focus on getting better, she wants everyone to know that a rash really is a sign of cancer and to not treat it lightly, ignore it or let doctors readily dismiss it.
“Luckily mine was caught in time but unfortunately, this may not be the case for everyone. After doing research online, I found some articles that say a rash is a sign of cancer, but it’s not a very common one, some people may not know what to look out for.
I would urge anyone to get themselves checked out if they are unsure of anything, as you just never know what it might be. But I also think it’s also really important not to put a death sentence on the word cancer. I have a really positive outlook and I’m hoping to be in remission by the summer.”
Here’s a video about Rhiannon’s shocking story.
Everyone should heed Rhiannon’s advice and seek medical attention if something doesn’t seem quite right. If she had ignored her rash, she might not be alive today. Hopefully, she does enter remission this summer and has a healthy future ahead of her.