Disease & Illness

This Woman Thought She Had A Shaving Rash, But It Was Actually Cancer

This is a good reminder to listen to your body when something doesn't seem right.

When most of us see a rash or a mark somewhere on our body, we usually think it’s razor burn or perhaps a local reaction to some allergen, and usually, it goes away and it’s no big deal. But, occasionally, it could end up being something much worse.

Such was the case for Rhiannon Douglas from Staffordshire, U.K., whose “shaving rash” actually ended up being cancer. The 21-year-old had a blotchy rash across her legs, and she assumed it was from shaving. But instead of getting better, over the next few days it got much worse. It was so bad, she decided to see a doctor.

She was told she had Henoch-Schönlein purport (HSP), also known as HSP, a rare disorder involving inflammation of small blood vessels. When these blood vessels swell, they cause bleeding into the skin, resulting in a rash.

Douglas began taking painkillers to help ease her HSP, but nothing was working. She began to get more symptoms, including back aches and weight gain. Doctors attempted to look for other causes, but everything was inconclusive.

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Eventually, the discomfort became so bad, Douglas ended up going to the hospital. Her legs were swollen, her joints ached and she was having trouble breathing.

At the hospital, they discovered that Douglas didn’t actually have HSP. Instead, she had an 8.5-centimeter cancerous tumor in her chest. She was told she had a rare type of Hodgkin’s lymphoma that affects the network of vessels and glands throughout the body.

To make matters even more unbelievable, the rash she had was also an extremely rare symptom, but if it hadn’t appeared, they probably wouldn’t have caught her cancer in such an early stage. Douglas’ tumor has already shrunk to 7.5 centimeters without treatment, and they’re hoping a later scan will reveal more progress.

Thankfully, most skin rashes don’t end up being cancer, and remember that Douglas’ type of Hodgkin’s lymphoma is not very common. While you should rest easy knowing that razor burn is usually just that, Douglas’ story shows how important it is to see a doctor when something about your health just doesn’t seem right.

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Watch this Inside Edition video to learn more: