Exhausted Scots nurse who thought shifts were cause of tiredness diagnosed with rare cancer

A young Scottish nurse who put her exhaustion down to ‘being on night shift for a month’ was devastated to learn she had a rare form of cancer.

Lucy Summers had been working hard in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary’s Ear, Nose and Throat department in February last year when she first began to suffer from extreme fatigue.

The 25-year-old initially put her tiredness down to her unsociable work pattern after also ‘shrugging off’ a small lump that had appeared in her neck months as a swollen gland.

Lucy Summers hails from Strichen in Aberdeenshire

But when the lump reappeared alongside Lucy’s new symptoms, a concerned hospital colleague put her name on the ultrasound scan and biopsy waiting list.

In April 2021 Lucy received the heartbreaking news that her results showed she had Stage 3 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma; an uncommon cancer that develops in the lymphatic system.

Lucy Summers
Lucy Summers shared photos of the lump on her neck on her Instagram page

Lucy, from Strichen, Aberdeenshire, is now sharing her story in the hope she can raise awareness of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma symptoms.

She told the Record: “I’m the world’s worst for saying, ‘I’m fine’. I actually think that’s because I am a nurse.

“I never sleep well on a month of nights so didn’t question anything about the tiredness at first.

“Working in ear, nose and throat, I’m also used to dealing with the lymphatic system, so I initially wasn’t too concerned about the lump on my neck either, but looking back at photos it was huge.

Lucy Summers
The lump on Lucy Summer’s neck first appeared in November 2020

“If sharing my story urges one person to get checked and ask questions then it’s worth it.”

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Lucy has since endured over a year of intense treatment which she says has left her feeling ‘like a broken woman’.

Despite getting the all-clear in November last year, her cancer returned in January 2022 and has sadly spread to her spleen.

Lucy Summers
Lucy Summers getting received chemotherapy at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary – where she works as a nurse

“It’s devastating,” Lucy added.

“The skin around where the lump had been started to feel hard again and I had a bad feeling. I had prepared for the worst.

“Doctors did a PET scan and confirmed it had returned.

“I worry more for my family and friends, it’s been hard for them, especially during the pandemic.”

The young fighter now hopes to be placed on a clinical trial before being matched with a stem cell donor and is waiting to hear if she has been accepted for an immunotherapy trial in London.

Lucy Summers
Lucy Summers celebrated being cancer free in November last year before her cancer returned

Staying positive and keen to help others, Lucy has also begun documenting the highs and lows of her cancer journey on Instagram.

Lucy’s Lymphoma Journey has racked up over 2,000 followers from as far away as Australia and the US

“So many people have had lumps checked out because they saw my page, which makes it worth it,” Lucy added.

Lucy Summers
Lucy Summer’s honestly and transparency on her Instagram page has inspired followers as far away as Australia to get checked

“I want to show people the highs and lows, but also that cancer doesn’t mean death, you can survive.”

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Friends, family and locals have also raised over £6,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust in support of Lucy.

On March 13 her friends are hosting a charity fundraiser at Fraserburgh Old Parish Church.

Head to the official Facebook page for more information or to donate.

Lucy Summers
Lucy Summers set up an online community in the wake of her cancer diagnosis

Follow Lucy’s journey on Instagram.

Donate to the Teenage Cancer Trust via their website or call 020 7612 0370.

For more information on Hodgkin lymphoma head to the NHS website.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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