LIFESTYLE & COMMUNITY

24-Year-Old Woman Thought She Had Severe Itching Due To Eczema, Turned Out It Was A Rare Cancer

Date October 31, 2018

Sometimes, cancer produces strange signs and symptoms that most people don’t associate with the disease. One of these symptoms is itching; who would think it could indicate cancer? Actually, itching is present in many cancers, and one young woman set out to spread the knowledge after her own cancer diagnosis was almost missed.

READ ALSO: Hodgkin's Lymphoma: 8 Symptoms Of The Disease, Risk Factors, And Treatment

It wasn’t eczema

Eleanor Rooney developed severe itch all over her body in early 2016. The woman went to the doctor's, thinking it could be eczema – she had had a bout of the condition two years earlier.

This is exactly what Eleanor’s doctors thought, too. They prescribed various topical treatments, but nothing worked.

Later that year, in September, Eleanor found a small lump under her collarbone. Fortunately, the lump was reason enough for her to go to the doctor's again. The doctor found two more lumps in her neck and ordered a few tests, which confirmed the worst suspicion: Eleanor had Hodgkin lymphoma, an uncommon blood cancer.

Eleanor was dumbstruck when she heard the news. She was only 24 and felt great, how could it happen to her? Speaking to Cosmopolitan UK, she said:

Up until that point I thought I was healthy. I had been in the gym the week before and felt totally fine. After I came out of the doctors I walked into the waiting room and ran to the car crying.

Fortunately, the cancer was detected relatively early – at stage 2, and the young woman started treatment right away.

After six months of grueling chemo, Eleanor was back on her feet. Now, she has check-ups every three months and goes on with her life. Most importantly, she managed to leave the awful experience behind her. She told Cosmopolitan UK:

Obviously there is always the fear that it will return, but I don’t believe I can go through life always concerned about that. You have to just try and move on.

READ ALSO: UK Woman Developed An Unexplained Itch. Two Years Later, She Was Diagnosed With A Rare Blood Cancer And Is Now Fighting For Her Life

What is Hodgkin lymphoma and how common is it?

Hodgkin lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system, which is part of the immune system. Compared to non-Hodgkin lymphoma, the disease is less common: the American Cancer Society estimated that 8,500 people would develop Hodgkin lymphoma in 2018.

Children and adults alike can be affected by Hodgkin lymphoma, but there are specific age groups that are at a higher risk. These include people in early adulthood and those aged older than 55.

24-Year-Old Woman Thought She Had Severe Itching Due To Eczema, Turned Out It Was A Rare Cancer24-Year-Old Woman Thought She Had Severe Itching Due To Eczema, Turned Out It Was A Rare CancerInspiring / Shutterstock.com

Signs and symptoms of Hodgkin lymphoma may include the following, according to Mayo Clinic:

  • persistent tiredness;
  • swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, or groin;
  • severe itching;
  • fever;
  • night sweats;
  • unexplained weight loss;
  • heightened sensitivity to alcohol, pain in the lymph nodes after consuming alcohol.

24-Year-Old Woman Thought She Had Severe Itching Due To Eczema, Turned Out It Was A Rare Cancer24-Year-Old Woman Thought She Had Severe Itching Due To Eczema, Turned Out It Was A Rare Cancer

See your doctor if you have any of these signs and symptoms. Although Hodgkin lymphoma is uncommon, these symptoms warrant a visit to a doctor.

READ ALSO: Neil Cavuto Beat Stage 4 Cancer, Was Diagnosed With MS, And Had Triple Bypass Surgery, But He Rebounded Every Time And Keeps Working


This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not self-diagnose or self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for any harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.