Charlestown’s Libby Townsend acting in her role as an ambassador for Youth Cancer Service’s Common Signs of Cancer campaign. Miss Townsend at Westmead Hospital during her treatment.
DISMISSING prolonged fatigue as a normal change to her body almost cost Charlestown woman Libby Townsend her life.
It was only by chance a routine blood test revealed abnormalities in Miss Townsend’s blood cells.
A bone marrow biopsy led doctors to diagnose the then 23-year-old with leukaemia in March 2013.
The only symptom she had shown was fatigue, which Miss Townsend put down to a virus she had earlier in the year.
Fatigue, along with unexplained and persistent pain, an unusual lump, significant weightloss and changes in a mole, are the five most common signs of cancer in young people aged 15 to 25.
This is the message Miss Townsend hopes to spread as an ambassador for Youth Cancer Service’s Common Signs of Cancer campaign.
The mainly social media-targeted campaign is in the form of a downloadable poster, which Youth Cancer Service hopes will circulate on Facebook and Twitter as well as doctors’ surgeries.
Last year, the federally-funded service provided 55 per cent of newly diagnosed young Australian cancer patients with specialist medical and psychological care.
Miss Townsend was one of those people.
She spent 18 months in and out of the Mater and Westmead hospitals, undergoing three rounds of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant before being declared cancer-free in August this year.
Miss Townsend said the ordeal was ‘‘isolating’’, but the Youth Cancer Service helped significantly.
‘‘The Youth Cancer Service staff at the Mater Hospital kept in touch when I went to Westmead, sending me texts and checking in on me,’’ she said.
‘‘One of the nurses even put up fairy lights for me at the Mater.
‘‘They were really in touch with what I needed as a young person.’’
As well as counselling, Miss Townsend received financial support.
The service donated her a laptop so she could continue her degree in education studies at the University of Newcastle.
So when the organisation asked her to be the face of its next big campaign, Miss Townsend didn’t think twice.
‘‘They’ve helped me out so much that if I can help them spread the word and help others, I know I’ve done my part,’’ she said.
‘‘It’s important to know the signs [of cancer].
‘‘I got really lucky because I was having a blood test anyway, but sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I’d have left it any longer.’’
Go to youthcancer南京夜网.au for more information or download the campaign poster here.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.