When Amy Callaghan met with a group of other young people as part of a research study, she recognised how similar they all were.

The 27-year-old Bankie has been through her fair share of challenges after being diagnosed with melanoma as a teenager.

But she wants to use her experiences since to raise awareness and ensure more mental health support - particularly once treatment is over.

Amy was 19 and in her second year of university when the cancer was first diagnosed - but only after months of not being taken seriously by her GP.

“I was stressed up to the time I was referred,” she told the Post. “I couldn’t have had better care once I was diagnosed.

“GPs don’t see a lot of instances of teenage cancer. And teenagers don’t go to GPs very often - they should be taken seriously and not just palmed off.”

Amy, from Duntocher, had her last of seven or eight surgeries in July 2018 and at one point had to take a year off from university.

When the cancer returned, she had support through the Teenage Cancer Trust (TCT) and was able to continue with her studies.

“I couldn’t stay in the university bubble - it’s just a struggle,” she said. “My real issue was when they told me I was better and all the support disappeared.

“Your whole world crumbled and you’re expected to go back to normal when that doesn’t exist anymore.

“That’s when support should be kicking in. Without support you can’t go back to a normal existence.”

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Former St Mary’s Primary pupil Amy has been part of a first study into mental health and the psychological needs of young people with cancer.

Funded by charities Children with Cancer, CLIC Sargent and TCT, and in partnership with the James Lind Alliance, the study last week called for funding to be urgently allocated.

Every day, seven young people aged 13-24 are told they have cancer and it is a leading cause of death in the UK.

But Amy said the NHS one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work for teenagers and young adults with different biologies and responses to cancers and treatments.

The research group included young people and looked at more than 800 research questions from patients, families and healthcare professionals.

They concluded three top priorities were the psychological support during and after treatment, interventions to reduce or reverse adverse effects of treatment, and ways to improve access to clinical trials.

Amy, a politics graduate who works as an office manager at the Scottish Parliament, said: “I got offered psychological support after diagnosis when I was too upset to take it - but then it went away.

“Young people with cancer....it’s something really weird that binds you together. We were all saying the same things, no matter where we were from. That was really positive.

“I don’t want the time I spent unwell going to waste. I wanted to make sure the year off was used for the better instead of me resenting it.

“It’s more about the support and helping people carry on with their lives afterwards.”

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Amy, who also serves on the children’s panel, is determined to make a positive from her experiences with cancer, doing talks and educating others.

She hopes young people in particular are more aware of their bodies and feel able to go to their GP.

“Cancer is a negative thing but I have come through this, and I’m living my best life,” she said. “I’m using this negative thing to make things better.

“I want to make sure no young person who has a worry doesn’t feel they can go to their GP.

“I want to make sure it gets better for other people.”

And Amy emphasised that the public - almost all of whom will be touched by cancer at some point in life, directly or through friends or loved ones - has a role to play.

“I would like the public to have a better understanding that when people get the all clear, that’s when you can talk to them,” she said.

“Don’t walk away. That’s when they need your help more than ever.”