Student with brain tumour repeatedly turned away by doctors who said she was 'homesick'
Megan suffered from terrible headaches and had difficulty walking but doctors put it down to stress
14:10 GMT, 30 April 2012
A student who was suffering from a brain tumour was repeatedly turned away by doctors who insisted she was just 'homesick.'
Megan Thompson, who was just three weeks into her childhood studies course at Leeds Metropolitan University, complained of terrible headaches and walking problems and made repeated trips to the doctor.
However, it wasn't until two months later that she was diagnosed with a brain tumour the size of a golf ball.
Determined: Megan Thompson with her mother Sarah during treatment last year for brain cancer
Today the UK charity Teenage Charity Trust revealed one in four young people with cancer had a similar experience to Megan and visited their doctor at least four times before they were taken seriously and referred to a specialist.
The 20-year-old student from Sunderland, who lives with her mother Sarah, and sister, Alice, 16, said: 'I began to get the most
horrendous headaches and I couldn't walk properly. It was then that I
knew something was desperately wrong.
'I couldn't cut my food up and I
couldn't even hold a glass of water in my hand. Every time I went to
the doctors they told me I was stressed or partying too hard. They
just dismissed it and said I was homesick.'
She added: 'It was December
16 when I had a scan and two days later I was having an operation to
remove the tumour.
'It was very quick for the operation, but it took so
long to diagnose.'
Recovery: Megan now plans to study oncology and wants other young people to be aware of the warning symptoms of cancer
Megan had 12 weeks of chemotherapy and radiotherapy in a bid to rid her body of medulloblastoma.
But when she suffered a reaction to the treatment, doctors placed her on a course of steroids to treat nerve damage.
A side-effect of the steroid meant bones
in her leg were damaged and she was forced to undergo a hip replacement
which left her in a wheelchair.
MOST COMMON MISDIAGNOSES FROM GPS'
Survey by the Teenage Cancer Trust
Infection or virus (15%)
It's nothing/you're attention seeking (12%)
Sports injury (10%)
Stress, depression or psychosomatic (6%)
Eating disorder (2%)
Now, after doctors put in a ceramic
hip, she's hoping to follow in the footsteps of the inspirational nurses
who helped save her life.
Last month she took her first steps back to independence by getting behind the wheel again to drive.
And in October she will begin an
oncology course at York University inspired by the treatment she
received at the RVI's Teenage Cancer Trust unit in Newcastle.
She said: 'It's so important that people keep a check out and make sure that they are alive to the signs, because it can save lives.'
The most common symptoms in young people are unexplained and persistent pain, a lump, bump or swelling, extreme tiredness, significant weight loss or changes in a mole.