Any guidance on what I should do?

Hi, I’m a 22 year old woman who’s been experiencing some really weird symptoms over the past three-ish months.

I’ve had a cough for around 10 weeks, breathlessness that’s getting worse, chest pain/discomfort, trouble swallowing, noticing my alcohol tolerance has changed drastically (& I get sore lymph nodes afterwards now too), and I am clawing at my face, neck, collarbones/chest it’s so itchy all the time! I’ve noticed a swollen gland on the right side of my neck, which has gone from the size of like half a pea to about the size of a grape - with no signs of infection, and my neck/jaw/collarbones ache like something is pressing into them.

I am trying to get in touch with my GP for tests, but I keep being fobbed off without even having spoken to a GP - What I want to ask is am I allowed to ask for a scan or a biopsy to figure this out?

I know within myself that something really isn’t right.

Obviously I understand that they work in a specific order so if/when I finally get through to them, the first thing would be a blood test, but are you allowed to ask for specific tests like that?


Hello there @fireofthephoenix

So sorry to hear that you have symptoms that are troubling.

If you have any concerns at all about your health, we would strongly encourage you to speak to your GP. In your case, I would request a face to face appointment as you mention the swollen glands and breathlessness which I suspect would need a physical examination.

You may find our 'Blood cancer symptoms and signs’ page helpful to read - it contains information on what to look out for, as well as prompts for questions you might like to ask your doctor.

As it explains on the webpage:

"Most people who have symptoms described on this page won’t have blood cancer. But it’s worrying to have symptoms you can’t explain, and important to find out what’s causing them, if only to set your mind at rest.

One of the first tests that may be done to investigate someone’s health is a full blood count (full blood count), which measures the number of each type of cell in your blood: red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. We have information about normal ranges on our website, and you can read more about each of the tests that might be done to confirm or rule out blood cancer here:

As you mention, if something does not feel right and it is persistent then your GP is the first escalation point. Scans and biopsies are requested in accordance to symptoms and physical evidence, so whilst you can ask whether they are necessary, the GP is responsible for rationalising their request.

I do hope this helps and I do hope you get some support.

Kind regards


Hi @fireofthephoenix I cannot better @GemmaBloodCancerUK response.
I find that writing down all the symptoms and questions I want to ask helps me.
If you do not ask you will not get.
I find being pleasantly assertive is a good approach.
Please do let us know how you get on.
Take lots of care of yourself


Hi @fireofthephoenix
You have been given great responses from the team.
I would be insistent as @Erica said and ask for a face to face appointment, taking a list off all your concerns.
Please let us know how you get on.