A former university student from Sutton who was misdiagnosed several times before being told she had terminal cancer is raising awareness about a charity who supported her throughout the ordeal.

Kat Mills was in her final year of studying English at Royal Holloway University in 2016 when problems arose, including fainting on public transport.

Despite applying her mum’s advice by taking iron tablets her condition failed to improve as she began coughing up blood before being diagnosed with a chest infection.

A lump later developed on her leg, which was first thought to be a ganglion, and further tests led to a conclusion of vasculitis – a disorder which destroys blood vessels through inflammation.

But Kat was becoming more ill, and the lump on her leg became so painful she could “barely walk or bend it”.

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In March 2017, following several delays and misdiagnoses, she was told she had cancer.

The 23-year-old said: “At this point I wasn’t scared. I was just glad I had an answer after such a long time waiting and thinking it could be cancer.”

At that time, doctors told her it hadn’t spread and was treatable.

She added: “When the doctor also told me that the cancer hadn’t spread I posted on social media that I was ‘cancer free!’”

However, while the lump on her leg had been removed, Kat was still sick.

The former Royal Holloway University undergraduate underwent a lung biopsy in August 2017, and it was at that point she was told the devastating news her cancer had spread.

There was no treatment available.

Kat was so unwell she could barely eat or move.

She said: “They didn’t believe I had cancer because I was a young person, and I think this led me to having no answers for such a long time – I am terminally ill now due to misdiagnoses.”

Having received different types of chemotherapy treatments since 2017, she has suffered side-effects such as fatigue, nausea and vomiting.

Her mental health also deteriorated as she felt so low that she stopped talking or eating.

Kat believes they “didn’t understand” her needs as a young person and that she “wasn’t listened to”, simply wanting to go home.

But it was during this time she received support from CLIC Sargent social worker Charlotte in emotional, financial and practical capacities.

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She said: “Charlotte is amazing. She has made the world of difference and I love her for all she’s done.

“She has felt like a big sister and she’s always there to talk things through with. I know I have a terminal diagnosis but Charlotte has given me life.”

It was in November last year that Kat became an active member of the CLIC Sargent Young Peoples Reference Group, and now she wants to help give something back.

On February 4 it’ll be CLIC Sargent’s World Cancer Day campaign, where they’ll also have an art exhibition which celebrates the talents of people who have experienced cancer and all of whom have been supported by CLIC Sargent.

Kat is encouraging people to donate £2 to get a Band Against Cancer wristband, which is available in three separate colours.

To find out more you can visit: www.clicsargent.org.uk/WorldCancerDay.

You can also get your own Band Against Cancer wristband in JD Wetherspoon pubs, Morrisons stores, as well as selected Ernest Jones and H Samuel outlets.