Cancer Research UK provide details on lymphoma
Cancer doesn’t always rear its ugly head in an obvious way, leaving many sufferers unaware of the potentially deadly condition.
When Carla Palmer, 41, spotted a small lump on her left arm three years ago, she didn’t hesitate to get a doctor’s opinion.
The award-winning singer said: “It was just a small lump the size of a pea. I’d had it for a little while. The doctor just said that it was a ‘swollen lymph node’.
“They said, ‘That happens if your body is fighting an infection. It will go down over time. As long as it doesn’t swell or grow, leave it.’”
However, the pea-sized lump later turned out to be a warning sign of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
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The condition refers to a type of cancer that begins in your lymphatic system, which is part of the body’s germ-fighting immune system.
During the previous years, Carla had launched her Dolly Parton tribute act, which had won awards and led her to perform on cruise ships.
Following a concert six months later after seeing the doctor, she decided to get a second opinion and visit A&E when she was warned by a friend that the lump could be something more sinister.
However, the Dolly Parton tribute performer explained doctors told her once again there “was nothing to worry about”.
Carla said: “It was a lady. She felt it and said it wasn’t moveable, so it was fine, and it was a swollen lymph node.
“I later had Covid, and my glands swelled up, so I assumed it was just because my body was fighting off that. But the lump never went down.”
Worryingly, new lumps kept cropping up under her armpit, near her collar bone and behind her ear over the following years.
But the 41-year-old didn’t visit a doctor again until last year when she started getting night sweats and feeling heavily fatigued.
Following the onset of her new symptoms, the doctor had then sent her for blood tests, scans, a mammogram, and a biopsy, where she got the gloomy news that she had incurable cancer on July 11, 2022.
Carla said: “I was absolutely devastated, I couldn’t believe it.
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“I just felt let down at the time. They did say it was curable at stage one. For me to be allowed to go past that without a proper investigation is devastating.
“I feel like the doctors do fob you off. You have to advocate yourself and you have to persist with the problem.
“It’s easy for a doctor to send you away and for you never to go back.”
At first, Carla put off treatment while trying to save cash by performing, but when her condition deteriorated, she agreed to undergo chemotherapy and immunotherapy.
The singer has now been forced to shelve her hard-earned career, as doctors worry that she could become sick from contact with large crowds.
She said: “Not being able to perform has been absolutely devastating – that’s the hardest part. I’d built up a brand and a network and all seems to be for nothing.”
The 41-year-old decided not to ask her specialists how long she might have left to live because she’s more interested in taking her life day by day.
Carla added: “I never asked for my prognosis. I didn’t want to know. I wanted to concentrate on thinking about the next steps of my treatment.”
Her friends have now set up a GoFundMe page to help her with her daily needs, which you can visit here to donate: https://www.gofundme.com/f/Help-make-Carlas-life-easier?.
SWNS has approached the NHS for comment.
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