A personal trainer has released a photo taken hours before she was diagnosed with cancer in a bid to challenge misconceptions about how people with serious illnesses look. Vicky Veness, 30, looks glowing with health in the photo, but was told she had stage-four lung cancer that same day.
Taking to Facebook to share her story, Vicky wrote: "This photo was taken a few hours before I was diagnosed with lung cancer. I'm 30 years old, a personal trainer, runner, non smoker and healthy eater. When you have cancer you won't necessarily look ill on the outside. The symptoms might be much more subtle and only show themselves occasionally."
STORY: Brave mum shares photo to raise awareness of breast cancer symptoms
Vicky explained that doctors initially attributed her symptoms to asthma, meaning it took 18 months before she was diagnosed with lung cancer. And her own struggle to get an accurate diagnosis meant she wanted to warn others to "question everything" if they are feeling ill.
Vicky shared her story to challenge misconceptions about how people with serious illnesses look
"The moral of the story is this, if you feel unwell for whatever reason, it doesn't matter how silly you think it might be, see your doctor, question everything and keep going back until you get the answers you need." The personal trainer concluded: "This has been the most emotionally and physically challenging week of my life, but now it's time to fight this!"
Since being posted on Saturday, Vicky's post has been shared hundreds of times with hundreds of comments from well-wishers. And the 30-year-old says she hopes more people will go to see their GP for a check-up if they have a persistent cough.
Lung cancer is rare in people younger than 40, and is most commonly diagnosed in people aged 70-74. There are usually no symptoms in the early stages but many people go on to develop symptoms such as a persistent cough, coughing up blood, persistent breathlessness, unexplained tiredness or weight loss, an ache or pain when breathing or coughing.
See the latest health features here.