Vicky Veness, a 30-year-old personal trainer from the UK, is a healthy-looking person by all accounts — so much so that her doctors dismissed her lung cancer symptoms as asthma. Now, Veness is speaking out to raise awareness for cancer, reminding everyone that it's not about looking "ill on the outside."
Last week, Veness posted a photo of herself on Facebook that was taken just hours before she was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.
"When you have cancer you won't necessarily look ill on the outside," she wrote. "The symptoms might be much more subtle and only show themselves occasionally."
"When most people think of lung cancer they immediately imagine somebody who smokes," she told the Daily Mail. "I want to make people aware this is not always the case. [...] It worries me that "healthy looking" people and non-smokers may be overlooked when diagnosing this condition. It took 18 months to reach my diagnosis."
Stage IV lung cancer, according to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, is the most advanced stage of the disease, during which it has spread to areas of the body other than the lungs. The treatment usually recommended is chemotherapy, surgery, immunotherapy, and radiation therapy, though according to the American Cancer Society, these treatments aren't likely to be a cure.
Veness wrote in her Facebook post that learning about her diagnosis has been emotionally and physically taxing, but "now it's time to fight this."
"The moral of the story is this, if you feel unwell for whatever reason, it doesn't matter how silly you might think it might be, see your doctor, question everything and keep going back until you get the answers you need," she wrote.
Refinery29 has reached out to Veness for comment, and will update this article when we receive a response.
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