Age: 22

Cancer type: testicular cancer

"I was in my first year at Bath Spa University, studying English Literature and psychology.

I'd just joined the American football team at uni and was really getting into it at the time.

I'd only been studying for 6 months when I was diagnosed. I'd not been feeling well for about a month, and I was in hospital for a reaction I'd had to some medication. They found some lumps on my chest and abdomen area, which turned out to be testicular cancer that had spread to other parts of my body.

I was being treated in my local hospital in Plymouth and then came to Bristol halfway through for my second round of chemotherapy.

Having been on a non-Teenage Cancer Trust unit I know the difference that being on one makes to your treatment. It can be really tough - I was on was near enough 12 hours on, 12 hours off. Constant chemicals hitting your body. It drained me quite a lot - I was feeling tired and sluggish. It was hard to think at time as well. Later I got other side effects like diarrhoea and sickness.

Being on a Teenage Cancer Trust unit just makes the treatment a lot easier. You can tell the care is focused around you as a person.

Compared to a normal ward when you'd be woken up at any time for breakfast, here you've got a lot more freedom to get up when you like. Just to have that option of your friends being able to stay a bit later, or my girlfriend being able to stay with me. Even just the social area helps to break up the monotony of a hospital.

It's comforting to know that there's people there that understand what you're going through, and are going through it themselves. And you'd see parents around too which was comforting for my Mum when she was here, to be able to talk to people like that in a similar situation.

And you always have nurses that you can call up if you have any doubts or worries. It's good to have someone neutral to talk to. It's quite emotional so talking to your Mum is quite tough but when you talk to a nurse they've seen it before and it can make it easier. You just feel a bit more hopeful being on a Teenage Cancer Trust unit.

It's quite shocking that Teenage Cancer Trust can't reach everyone. I know it would make a huge difference to anyone diagnosed if they could get that treatment.

Living with cancer

"From the outside looking in you'd think I was in a horrible situation, but I worry much more for the people around me. How it affects them much more than how it affects me in a sense, I'm not sure why. It hurts more to see them worry than myself. I can handle my own emotions but can't help my family or friends when they're feeling down.

Letting my friends know about it was the hardest thing. But even from the start they understood. They were strong for me. I still don't think I've seen what it did to them. They were just putting on a strong face at the time to support me.

My Mum came to visit me on the day I was diagnosed. I had to get the nurses to explain it to her as I couldn't really deal with it. Processing that information yourself is really hard, let alone breaking that news to someone else.

When you're diagnosed it feels like you're out of place.

When you're with a group of friends they don't have the same worries that I have. They're worrying about student finance and I'm worrying about whether I'll be alive next year. You don't see the world in the same way as them anymore.

I feel like I would've changed when I finish with all this treatment. There will always be a worry though that it might come back, especially with my diagnosis. There'll always be that thought and anxiety in the back of my mind. During Christmas when you go out with your friends, being in a room full of carefree people you feel a little bit alone. I don't really feel carefree anymore. Cancer's always in the back of your mind.

You do realise what's more important in life. It's valuable to learn that at an earlier age. Family and friends become much more important when you realise how much they've helped and continue to help.

I've been with my girlfriend for over a year now. My diagnosis hasn't changed the nature of our relationship, and that's the main thing that I love about her. I would've thought she'd be panicking and stressed but she's been able to normalise it which is the key thing really."

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