MEADOW Springs resident Brenda Preston thought the severe rash covering her body was an allergic reaction to tap water until she tested positive to a rare form of lymphoma called Mycosis fungoides.
According to the mother of three, she is only one of six people in WA and one in 1.2 million in the world who have been diagnosed with this type of cancer.
Ms Preston said the rarity of the disease means it is extremely difficult to detect.
“They wont find the cancer unless they’re looking for the T-cell deformity,” she said.
The 32-year-old said she knew something was wrong when she started experiencing a rash and losing consciousness from it.
“We spent three weeks trying to work out if I was allergic to tap water because that was setting the rash off but it came back negative,” she said.
It was Ms Preston’s new GP who was aware of the rare type of cancer and decided to test her for it.
According to Ms Preston Mycosis fungoides is the only cancer, after passing Stage 1B, that attacks the skin.
“You can’t do anything for the rashes besides (taking) four different antihistamines daily,” Ms Preston said.
“Eventually the tumours on the inside will form on the outside and I’ll have a skin full of nasty tumours.”
Ms Preston not only struggles with this disease but has bi-polar and MS.
“I walk everywhere – on average 30 to 50 kilometres a week so I keep a very active life which keeps me strong” she said.
However, Ms Preston and partner Ben Morris are struggling to make ends meet.
The couple are also dealing with their son’s diagnosis of club foot.
“My partner had to quit work to care for me and my children as I’m not in the best of ways,” she said.
According to Ms Preston, most people with the disease make it to 10 years.
“I’ve taken oral chemotherapy and my dermatologist is thinking PUV light therapy will ease skin once it turns to tumours on the outside – however there is no cure,” she said.
Mandurah community members have been assisting the couple since they have no steady income.
“We’ve been relying on food parcels and HALO have been dropping us off food hampers and helped raise funds for my son to go to school camp because we couldn’t afford it,” Ms Preston said.
The family have a gofundme page with an aim to raise $7000 for house and medical bills. Visit Gofundme.