Waterlooville teenager urges others to check symptoms with their GP after her suspected allergic reaction was actually cancer

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
A TEENAGER from Waterlooville is urging other youngsters to seek medical help if they spot ‘something wrong’ after a suspected allergic reaction turned out to be cancer.

Erin Harris, now 18, started to feel fatigued and wheezy in October 2020 but attributed it to an allergy after a previous incident with watermelon.

It wasn’t until she developed a lump on her neck that she realised something else was wrong.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Read More
Parents in Portsmouth urged to get children vaccinated against measles as uptake...
Erin Harris, 18, from Waterlooville. Picture: The Teenage Cancer TrustErin Harris, 18, from Waterlooville. Picture: The Teenage Cancer Trust
Erin Harris, 18, from Waterlooville. Picture: The Teenage Cancer Trust

She said: ‘I put this down to a flare-up from an allergic reaction as I had reacted badly to watermelon in the summer of 2020 and I had a blood test and it indicated allergies, so it all added up.

‘However, after a while of taking antihistamines and my asthma inhaler for my allergies, I had found a small lump on my neck which kept growing bigger, but it was dismissed as a virus. When the lump grew to an alarming size, I did get it checked out again and after a round of tests and scans, it was found to be cancer.

‘We know our bodies better than anyone, and we know even better when something is wrong, getting checked is the most important thing.’

Following her diagnosis of Hodgkin lymphoma in 2021, Godalming College student Erin was treated at Southampton General Hospital.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Now she is sharing her story to raise awareness of the warning signs of cancer and is urging other young people to check themselves regularly and visit their GP if they have any concerns, as part of a Teenage Cancer Trust campaign.

Awareness of the five main warning signs of cancer in young people is ‘concerningly low’ amongst those aged 18 to 24, with seven in 10 not being able to identify correctly all five warning signs according to new research from the trust.

The research released on World Cancer Day has revealed that from a list of the five most common warning signs of cancer in young people, only one – lumps bumps and swellings - could be identified correctly by the majority of respondents aged 18-24.

Visit teenagecancertrust.org/signs to get clued up on the warning signs.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

Subscribe here for unlimited access to all our coverage, including Pompey, for just 26p a day.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.