Ben Quain, 33, said: “Cancer was the absolute last thing I thought of when I first started getting itchy legs towards the end of 2020.”
The keen golfer thought walking through tall grass could have caused the itchiness on his leg. Then Ben believed he had a “reaction to the washing detergent”, thinking nothing more of it.
“I was still feeling fit and healthy, running over 20 miles a week,” the running enthusiast told Express.co.uk.
“It wasn’t until February 2021 that I thought I should probably get it looked at by the GP,” Ben shared.
By this time, spots had popped up on his leg, which would sometimes bleed during the night and would scab over.
“I must have seen the GP four or five times over the next few months, trying a series of creams and antibiotics to try and solve the problem,” Ben recalled.
“But it didn’t matter how much – fairly expensive cream! – I lathered onto my legs, the spots and scabs remained.”
Ben quipped: “My favourite potential diagnosis was when the GP suggested it could be scabies!”
There was no suspicion of cancer at that point, but when a few lumps developed in his neck, he started questioning things.
Thinking it could be a reaction to the Covid vaccine, Ben then attributed the onset of night sweats to balmy weather.
In continuous talks to his doctor about his ever-growing list of symptoms, his GP referred him for a scan.
“Looking back, I’m pretty sure my GP had a good idea I might have some form of lymphoma a good couple of weeks before we ultimately arrived at the diagnosis,” said Ben.
“We spoke on the phone one evening as I drove home from work, and she listed off a number of symptoms that she ‘just wanted to check’ so she could rule out lymphoma.”
Ben remembered: “The rash/itchy skin was one of them, then weight loss, night sweats and/or a fever, persistent fatigue and swollen lymph nodes.”
Still, at this point, Ben refused the possibility it could be cancer until a chest X-ray revealed an ominous mass.
“The anxiety and general panic that began to take over was difficult to deal with,” Ben revealed. “I struggled sleeping while my mind ran riot with ‘what ifs?’ every night.”
Ben added: “I began taking some anti-anxiety drugs to help take the edge off it.”
In September 2021, Ben was diagnosed with stage two Hodgkin lymphoma but, luckily, it wasn’t a fast-spreading cancer.
“Thankfully, I was told that the recovery rates for my type of cancer were as high as 90 percent,” said Ben.
After 12 rounds of chemotherapy, which he completed in March 2022, Ben is now in remission.
Hoping to raise more funds for Lymphoma Action, having already raised £14,500 since his diagnosis, Ben is now planning to run the marathon in New York for November.
Ben shared his story with us to raise awareness about lymphoma on behalf of Lymphoma Action and Blood Cancer Awareness Month in September.