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I was shaving my legs when I felt a lump the size of a pea – three doctors told me not to worry, but then a fourth discovered something far more ominous…

Jade Cook was just 21 when she moved from England to Queensland and was diagnosed with terminal cancer – all after seeing three separate doctors who insisted she was «perfectly healthy».

The now 34-year-old mum was working on cruise ships in Europe as a spa therapist when she first noticed a pea-sized lump on her thigh while shaving her legs.

“I had it checked on board and was told to wait until I was back on shore. Then they checked it again and the doctors thought it was just a cyst,’ Jade told FEMAIL. «Several doctors said let’s just leave it alone and see if it goes away.»

«None of the doctors did an ultrasound or a biopsy,» she said. “There were no scans. They kept poking at it to see if anything would fall out. Looking back, I am very angry about the way I was dismissed.’

The lump had grown to the size of a golf ball and was pulsating when she decided to have it checked a fourth time.

“I went to the doctor with a friend of mine in Australia who needed a prescription filled and begged them to do something about it. In the end she decided to kick it and send it for tests – and then it turned out that it wasn’t just a cyst, it was a tumor that had started to spread.’

Jade Cook was just 21 when she moved from England to Queensland and was diagnosed with terminal cancer (pictured with her family)

Jade then had to carefully monitor her chest and the rest of her body for signs of cancer.

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“I was in a new country, I didn’t know anyone, and I had a tumor growing without knowing if it was getting worse. The doctors told me there was a high risk of it spreading to my bones, which would be fatal,” she said.

“If I can put a message out there, it’s to take your health seriously. If you feel a lump or anything suspicious, insist on an ultrasound or biopsy, even if your doctor says otherwise. Better to be safe than sorry.’

Jade had to wait five months for the operation – all the while fearing the cancer would spread.

Unfortunately, since the doctors determined the cancer to be a sarcoma, there was no explanation as to why it had occurred.

Sarcoma is a type of cancer that can occur in different parts of the body

Scientists don’t know exactly what causes most soft tissue sarcomas, but they have found some risk factors that can make a person more likely to develop them.

Jade had to wait five months for the operation – all the while fearing the cancer would spread

“I wasn’t very educated about my health, but I didn’t do anything wrong. I didn’t smoke, drink, do any drugs.

“People kept telling me that I don’t need to exercise or watch what I eat because I’m naturally slimmer – but that’s just not true. Exercise, getting your heart rate up, being able to eat the right things are important. Being able to work on your mindset is important.”

She started radiotherapy in October 2012, once the wounds from the surgery had healed.

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«One of the hardest things I had to physically go through was the radiation – it’s like having a blowtorch on your leg – and I had it Monday to Friday every day for six weeks,» Jade said.

“It was like they were burning my leg and increasing the intensity as I went through the treatment. At first it was just like a sunburn, then it got more painful.’

She slept without a doona and the doctors advised against bandages on her leg because the skin was so sensitive that it would just «peel off».

The side effects of the radiation got so bad that she couldn’t walk or work for a month.

The side effects of the radiation got so bad that Jade couldn’t walk or work for a month

At the time, Jade had no friends except for one woman who worked with her on cruise ships.

“I met someone but it was a bit scary for him – we only dated for a couple of weeks and suddenly I had cancer. In hindsight, I can see why he was a little distant.

“But he introduced me to his family and they were absolutely incredible.

“They took me and his mum under their wing and drove me to hospital appointments, his sister and brother were studying to be nurses so they offered to bandage me so I could exercise.

“I met a few other friends along the way and their families cooked me dinner and invited me over.

The friends Jade made along the way became her «second family» and support system.

“I had to stay mentally strong and get through it. Everyone kept telling me to go home, but I didn’t have much money – I didn’t have enough to go back all my life.

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«I felt like my dream of coming to Australia and starting a business would be over before it started if I came back.»

Jade ran salons for seven years before transitioning into an e-commerce business with Brow Bible Academy offering online beauty therapy courses and beauty products.

Jade had odd jobs as a spa therapist to pay for rent and treatment as she navigated her cancer journey.

Eventually, she started an eyebrow business and turned into a beauty mogul.

«I’ve always wanted to open my own business and I felt like it was the perfect time because there wasn’t much competition, so I rented a space and after five months I was fully booked,» she said.

From there she opened her own salon, eventually hiring eight staff before opening a second salon in Cairns with 14 staff.

She had salons for seven years before turning to an e-commerce site with Brow Bible Academy, offering online beauty therapy classes and beauty products.

In 2020, when Covid hit and millions of people were forced to enter their homes, the brand crossed $30,000 in one week.

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