A brave Scots teen has told how he received the devastating news he has stage four cancer despite being so healthy he had never set foot in a hospital before.

Conor Elliott was left in shock when doctors told him in February this year that his agonising chest pains and lack of sleep were actually a result of a tumour.

The 19-year-old was diagnosed with stage four Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a rare form of blood cancer most common in teens and young adults.

The condition affects lymphocytes, a form of white blood cell which form part of the immune system.

He is now determined to encourage others to push for early diagnosis and make it clear that cancer can affect anyone.

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Conor, from Glasgow, had been studying sports coaching at university and had never been in a hospital before when he started getting serious pains in September 2020.

He told the Daily Record: “I did not feel myself anymore, I got chest pains all the time.

“I was always into sport but all of a sudden I was walking to the shops and I was so out of breath.”

Conor in hospital
Conor in hospital

He added: “I had a lump on my neck which is a really common symptom because it affects your lymph nodes. I had a constant infection for about three months, I was sweating at night.”

Doctors initially thought Conor’s symptoms could be coronavirus but later believed it may be an acid reflux and he was given tablets in December to try and ease the pain.

However, his condition only got worse and he returned to doctors in February.

He said: “I knew I was not well. I had said to my mum and dad several times. I had never been to hospital in my life and I think I was in denial a bit.

“I said this is not normal. I could not sleep at night, my face was swelling up and a few people had noticed.

“They did a blood test and then I got a phonecall saying I needed to urgently come in for a CT scan.”

At this point Conor was diagnosed with lymphoma and later tests revealed it was stage four and there was a large tumour in his chest.

He said: “Accepting I had cancer and getting over the fear of staying alive was the hardest thing to do.

Conor during chemotherapy treatment
Conor during chemotherapy treatment

“I would have never been able to do this on my own and through the support of my family and close friends I am alive today.”

Conor stayed in hospital after his diagnosis to start chemotherapy and underwent a biopsy.

He was looked after by the Teenage Cancer Trust at the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre in Glasgow.

He said: “The treatment I received there was unbelievable, they made me feel like family and cared for me every minute of the day during those two weeks in hospital.”

He added: “Due to covid my Mum and Dad couldn’t come through with me for my treatments. That was a huge worry for me, having have my first scan and surgery alone.

“I think throughout the whole process I just tried to stay really positive, I never wanted it to affect my life.

“There are so many mental battles you go through. I struggled with my mental health issues from the constant fear.”

In July this year Conor was given the news that he was in full remission.

He said: “On July 23 I was told I was in full remission and just have to get check ups every three months. That was one of the best days of my life.

“Even just thinking back I forget that it actually all happened this year.”

Conor is now determined to support others through a cancer diagnosis and prove that things can get better.

He said: “At first I wanted to put it in the past but I think that’s unfair to others going through the same.

“I now want to talk about it and raise awareness that if this is caught early you have a better survival rate.

“At the start the doctors also thought it could be covid and that’s what I have noticed recently is people thinking they just have covid because of what we’ve been through. But not everything is covid, there are so many things it could be and you have to get yourself checked.”

In less than a year since his first hospital visit, Conor is now training for a 20k half marathon in honour of the Teenage Cancer Trust.

He said: “When I first got diagnosed people were messaging through social media saying they had been through the same thing and it will get better.

“When you speak to people the same age as you, you can relate and you feel more normal.

“If I’m able to complete a half marathon it can prove that no matter what you’re going through, things can get better and you have to stay positive.”

He has sent up a Go Fund Me page and so far raised over £1500.

His advice to anyone worried about similar symptoms or a feeling that something is wrong is to stop ignoring it and get checked.

“Getting yourself checked out is the most important thing,” he said.

“Don’t be embarrassed, it’s better to find out it was nothing than not check at all.

“I had such a fear about going to hospital but the people were amazing, especially at the Beatson, they treated me like family.

“Whatever mental health issues you’re going through it will get better.”

You can support Conor’s fundraiser by clicking here.