An English teacher who collapsed in a supermarket after being told by doctors that her symptoms were down to stress has been diagnosed with a stage four cancer.

Mollie Mulheron, 24, had recently returned from travelling in the Galapagos Islands, where she began suffering difficulty breathing and swallowing.

Despite having such trouble that she almost drowned while snorkelling, medics on the islands told her the issues were ‘in her head’ and that she was ‘too stressed’.

She returned to the UK on February 4, after nine months abroad, and within 48 hours began vomiting and collapsed in a Booths supermarket in North Yorkshire.

Ms Mulheron was rushed to Airedale Hospital in Steeton, near Bradford, where doctors found a 15cm tumour over her heart and lungs and diagnosed her with stage four non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).

‘I just cried and screamed and screamed – it was out of nowhere, I knew something was wrong but I didn’t think it was that wrong,’ Ms Mulheron said.

Lymphoma is cancer of the lymphatic system, which is the body’s disease-fighting network.

More than 14,000 people in the UK and 80,000 in the US receive a diagnosis of NHL each year, according to charities.

It is a rare type of cancer, making up just 4 per cent of all UK cases.

Ms Mulheron, from Skipton, North Yorkshire, said her shock diagnosis was ‘the worst news of my life, I can’t even explain how it felt now’.

She added: ‘I still can’t comprehend it now – [when I was told] I was screaming to my mum about my future plans, how I wanted to be a mum and get married, all I could do was stare at the wall and cry and scream.’

Due to the aggressiveness of her cancer, Ms Mulheron was unable to undergo cryopreservation – preserving biological material by cooling it to very low temperatures – to protect her fertility before she started chemo on February 21.

Doctors instead gave her an injection to put her in a temporary early menopause in the hope that once chemo was completed, she could conceive.

She said this was ‘the worst part for me as I always wanted to be a mum’.

Ms Mulheron had flown to the Galapagos Islands to pursue her dream of travelling.

However, while out there she began to experience strange symptoms, including rashes.

She was told there weren’t enough students for her to teach, so flew back to the UK on February 4.

She collapsed two days later and was taken to hospital in an ambulance before undergoing blood tests, an X-ray and CT scans.

It is not clear why she collapsed.

Ms Mulheron was told she had cancer on February 7 and on February 17 medics confirmed it was NHL.

She was prescribed steroids to stop the tumour from growing any more and due to the advanced state of the tumour, swiftly began chemotherapy.

‘I’ve been fit and healthy my whole life, I’ve always been completely fine – I don’t know what has caused this, I’m healthy and young, three weeks ago I was in Galapagos living my best life’, she added.

Doctors told Ms Mulheron they are hopeful they can treat the cancer as there are many options due to her being young, fit and healthy.

Statistics suggest stage four NHL has a five-year survival rate of around 64 per cent.

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