A Hampton gymnastics teacher who was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma in 2018, will feature in two online films to promote body positivity.

23-year-old Angel Shepherd-Bascom will be working with the Teenage Cancer Trust for its #StillMe campaign to talk about how her body changed after receiving her cancer diagnosis.

Ms Shepherd-Bascom said: “How you look really matters to young people.

“When I was told I had cancer, after my first thought of ‘will I die?’

“I started to stress about what it would be like to lose my hair.

“But actually, my weight loss was the thing that affected my self-image the most during treatment.”

According to Teenage Cancer Trust - body image issues are an important factor for its young clients and, an online poll carried out in 2019, revealed that most young people living with cancer were worried about how their looks would be affected.

Ms Shepherd-Bascom happens to be one of 20 young people in the UK who has seen changes to her body which include facial tumour’s, hair loss and weight fluctuations.

Kate Collins, Chief Executive Officer, Teenage Cancer Trust, said: “Over the past three decades we’ve supported thousands of young people like Angel through treatment, and we know changes in appearance can be distressing and tough to deal with.

“The 'ideal' bodies and looks portrayed on Instagram that many young people aspire to are difficult to live up to at the best of times - and the effects of cancer and treatment on appearance, like hair and weight loss, can really add to this pressure.

“People like Angel are sharing their experiences of how they coped, and this will do so much to help other people facing similar issues.

“We’re really proud and grateful that she is part of our #StillMe campaign.”

Every day, seven young people in the UK aged 13 to 24 are diagnosed with cancer.

The Teenage Cancer Trust’s youth support coordinators and nurses are based in hospitals and local communities across the nation to provide emotional support to help young people cope with the impact of cancer on their lives, including the impact of changes to their bodies.

Ms Shepherd-Bascom continued: “At one point I only weighed around 40kg, you could see my shoulder blades, I was nothing but skin and bone.

“I tried to cover it up by wearing baggy clothes, but people would still make comments about how thin I was.

“My advice to others is to try not to worry as much about how you look.

“I know that is easy to say, especially with social media making you feel you need to look a certain way, but you are who you are because of your character, not how you look.

“And lots of people don’t care what we look like, we put the pressure on ourselves.”