Teen cancer survivor reveals she had no idea how ill she was until radiographer CRIED during scan

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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A teenage cancer survivor inadvertently learnt of her devastating diagnosis by a radiographer who cried during a scan.

Molly Cuddihy, then aged 15, was told later that day she had a rare form of bone cancer.

Doctors rushed the now 21-year-old through to start chemotherapy the next week. 

Recalling her diagnosis, Miss Cuddihy, from Inverclyde in Scotland, said: ‘The woman who was doing my scan started crying.

‘If that was not a tell-tale sign then I don’t know what was.’

Molly Cuddihy, 21, didn’t realise how ill she was until her radiographer started crying half way through a scan, while looking at the result

The maths student, pictured with Gary Barlow at a Teenage Cancer Trust concert in the Royal Albert Hall, knew something was not right for about six months before she was told she had metastatic Ewing sarcoma on January 16, 2018

The maths student, pictured with Gary Barlow at a Teenage Cancer Trust concert in the Royal Albert Hall, knew something was not right for about six months before she was told she had metastatic Ewing sarcoma on January 16, 2018

Miss Cuddihy now has no active signs of her Ewing sarcoma, the cancer she was diagnosed with in January 2018. 

The news came as she was preparing for her exams.  

She had planned to study medicine but all that was ‘taken away’, she recalls. 

Speaking of her experiences with Radio Therapy, a new podcast for young people that covers difficult themes such as mental health, body image and mortality, Miss Cuddihy, said: ‘That was all taken away from me in less than a minute. 

‘Everything falls away.

‘There are so many parts of your life that it reaches into and affects.

‘It’s so much more than just a cancer diagnosis.’

In the podcast she recalled being 'fine' until she had a stem cell transplant in 2020 and 'totally broke down'. She explained she had struggled for a long time and wishes there was more support available six years ago

In the podcast she recalled being ‘fine’ until she had a stem cell transplant in 2020 and ‘totally broke down’. She explained she had struggled for a long time and wishes there was more support available six years ago

WHAT IS EWING SARCOMA? 

Ewing sarcoma is a type of primary bone cancer (also called bone sarcoma).

It is a rare cancer that develops in the supporting tissues, which includes the bones, cartilage, tendons, fat and muscle. 

This type of cancer most commonly affects the pelvis, thigh, shin, ribs and shoulder blades. 

Ewing sarcoma is most often found in teenagers and young adults, but it can happen at other ages. It is slightly more common in men than women. 

Pain is the most common symptom. the cancer may also cause the area to swell making it painful when touched.

Primary bone cancer is sometimes found when a bone breaks after a minor fall or accident. This is because it has been weakened by the cancer.

Source: Macmillan 

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There are around 550 cases of Ewing sarcoma in the UK every year, according to Cancer Research UK. 

The rare bone cancer is most often found in teens and can cause swelling and pain near the affected bone. 

It develops in the supporting tissues, which includes the bones, cartilage, tendons, fat and muscle, says Macmillan. 

Miss Cuddihy, who has since completed her treatment, was left with irreparable liver damage and in need of a kidney transplant.

She said she was ‘fine’ until she underwent a stem cell transplant — used to replace bone marrow destroyed by chemo — in 2020 and ‘totally broke down’. 

She explained she had struggled for a long time and wishes there was more support available six years ago. 

She also admitted that she still has trouble sleeping and gets flashbacks.

Miss Cuddihy told BBC Scotland News: ‘There is things I have said on the podcast that they have never heard me say before and they have lived it with me.

‘It is almost like letting people in on a secret.’

While undergoing chemotherapy Ms Cuddihy also experienced ‘frightening’ shivers that were linked to a hospital-acquired infection.

In 2021 she recalled her ordeal when she gave evidence before the Scottish Hospitals Inquiry.

Other young people have also spoken about mental health on the podcast, including Mairi MacLean, 24, who is currently receiving her seventh treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

She said the concept of ‘body neutrality’ helped change her perspective on how she felt about her appearance. 

It’s about being ‘at peace with your body, not consuming energy in loving or hating it,’ she explained. 

‘It is a vessel that is trying hard to survive each day, whether you have an illness or not, and that is truly remarkable.

‘My body will fluctuate and change over and over again but I am at peace with that because I admire the strength and perseverance of it.’

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