A slimmer has warned women ‘be careful what you wish for’ after her diet masked symptoms of a deadly disease.
Jemma Doran, 28, from Liverpool was a size 22 when she started a diet to lose weight after saying she’d give anything to be a size 10.
She rapidly dropped to a size 14 in just six months but was devastated to learn that her rapid weight loss was in fact due to a deadly rare cancer and not her diet.
Within weeks of diagnosis she was a tiny size eight and has now been told her condition is incurable.
Miss Doran believes she would have been diagnosed earlier if her diet had not masked her symptoms.
She said: ‘ I have been told nothing more can be done for me and I might not be here this time next year. It’s terrifying and I can’t help wondering if my cancer would have been detected earlier if I hadn’t been on the diet.
‘Perhaps the treatment would have been more successful but by the time it was finally found it had already spread.
‘Had I noticed the weight loss alarm bells would have rang but because of my diet I was blissfully ignorant to the fact something was so wrong.
‘I did not connect the pain in my throat to my weight loss. Perhaps if I had I might not be in this situation.’
Miss Doran, who is 5ft tall was a size 22 weighing 15 stone 5lbs when she started her diet in December 2013.
She says she had always battled with her weight but was determined to slim after graduating and deciding to embark on a masters degree.
She overhauled her diet, banning junk food and started exercising.
To her delight her hard work appeared to be paying off and her weight started to drop.
She was already down to a size 18 when she saw her GP in January last year complaining of a sore throat and occasional pain swallowing due to a lump in her throat.
She was told she was likely suffering with tonsillitis and prescribed antibiotics.
Meanwhile her weight loss continued and Miss Doran was thrilled when she dropped to a size 16 and met her partner Farshad Razaee.
She said: ‘ The sore throat and pain would come and go l and for the rest of the time I felt great. In fact I felt wonderful to be losing weight and feeling slim.
‘It was great fun shopping for clothes I could not wear before and I continued with my diet and exercise.’
But as she slimmed her throat pain got worse and Miss Doran says she saw her GP a further eight times between February and July.
She said: ‘I was told it was just an infection or glandular fever and not to worry. At the very worst I thought it might be tonsil stones.’
But her throat was getting gradually worse until finally she could not bend her chin to her chest because it was so swollen and in July last year her mother called 111 who sent an ambulance.
By now she was a size 14 and thrilled with her achievement – until it was revealed that her rapid weight loss was likely down to something far more sinister.
An ENT specialist suspected tonsil cancer and a biopsy confirmed the news. ‘I was gobsmacked because I never thought it would be cancer. I was devastated.’
Within weeks Miss Doran had dropped to a size ten.
She said: ‘ The irony was not lost. I’d always wanted to be a size 10 and then when I got there I would have given anything to go back and never start that diet.
Over the next few weeks her weight dropped to 7 stone 5 pounds and a size eight.
She said: ‘ I looked horrendous and wondered why did I ever want to be thin? I looked so ill.’
She was desperately trying to put weight on as she battled chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
But radiation treatment at the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre was halted in November last year when tumour appeared on her neck indicating the cancer had spread. Tests revealed it had gone to her breast bone and right lung and was now stage four.
She was given drugs to try and slow the growth but warned last month that the condition was now incurable.
The rarity of tonsil cancer in someone her age meant doctors were unable to predict what will happen next but warned she may not be alive next year.
Miss Doran says: ‘ I begged them to try anything because I wasn’t ready to die. I wanted to know why it had happened to me.
‘They said I had just been very unlucky as I did not smoke and rarely drank.’
Neither did she carry the HPV virus which can be associated with the condition.
But with treatment options exhausted in the UK she is pinning her hopes on treatment in Germany to try and extend her life.
She says: ‘ I am not saying anyone who starts a diet will get ill and die, but I believe that in my case I may have been diagnosed earlier if my weight loss had been spotted and for that reason I regret dieting and wish I had just been happy as I was.
‘I would give anything to turn back the clock. It might have saved my life to have been diagnosed earlier.
‘The irony is now I am struggling to maintain my weight and have to follow a very high fat diet to keep at a size 10.’
To help Miss Doran please visit