Photo of smiling lung cancer sufferer taken hours before diagnosis goes viral

Dave Maclean
Vicky Veness

A personal trainer is trying change misconceptions about how people with serious illnesses look – by sharing a glowing photo of herself which was taken hours before she was diagnosed with cancer.

Vicky Veness, 30, from Cheltenham, was told she had stage-four lung cancer on the same day that the beaming snap was taken.

The fitness fanatic shared the photo with the message: “When you have cancer you won’t necessarily look ill on the outside.”

Doctors initially “brushed off” her symptoms as asthma, meaning it took 18 months for her to be diagnosed with lung cancer.

The non-smoker, who says she eats a healthy diet and exercises regularly, wrote a post warning others to “question everything” if they feel unwell.

On her Facebook profile she wrote: “Just a warning that this post may be upsetting to read.

“This photo was taken a few hours before I was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. I'm 30 years old, a personal trainer, runner, non-smoker and healthy eater.

“When you have cancer you won't necessarily look ill on the outside. The symptoms might be much more subtle and only show themselves occasionally.”

She ended with a warning to others who may be struggling to get medical professionals to take their symptoms seriously.

“Unfortunately my symptoms were brushed off as asthma by many general practitioners.

“The moral of the story is this, if you feel unwell for whatever reason, it doesn't matter how silly you might think it might be, see your doctor, question everything and keep going back until you get the answers you need.

“This has been the most emotionally and physically challenging week of my life, but now it's time to fight this!”

She has since said that she hopes more people will see their GP if they have a persistent cough.