A Hale businesswoman is on a mission to raise awareness for a blood cancer she has had for 22 years.

Faye Bala, 38, was diagnosed with Essential Thrombocythaemia (ET) as a schoolgirl at the age of 16.

At the time Ms Bala was living in Aberdeen, Scotland, and she realised something was wrong when she complained of horrendous headaches and, one day, she collapsed.

A blood test revealed she had a high number of cells called platelets.

Messenger Newspapers: Faye Bala

Ms Bala said: "When I was 16, I was diagnosed with a blood disorder. My doctor told me not to search for it as it might scare me and it had connections with cancer. 

"Since then the classification changed and my blood disorder – known as ET - is classified as a type of blood cancer."

Ms Bala is running a beauty business in Hale and, apart from a setback after the birth of her daughter, she is managing the condition with the help of a drug called Hydroxycarbamide.

It is only in the last year or so she started to talk about her condition in person and online, a process which she said has helped her to come to terms with the diagnosis.

Messenger Newspapers: Faye Bala

Ms Bala said: "I've always thought of it as a blood disease so it took a bit of time for me to come to terms with calling it blood cancer as I know for some people cancer can be life-threatening. 

"Many of my clients were surprised to know I had this cancer for 22 years and it has been a talking point. There are many types of cancer. For me it’s something I can live with and I've always had to deal with."

Suzanne Roberts, the clinical lead for blood cancer at Greater Manchester Cancer Alliance, said: "I'd like to thank Faye for talking about what it is like to live with her type of blood cancer, ET. 

"There are many types of blood cancer. The well-known types include types of leukaemia and lymphoma.

"You should take particular notice of persistent symptoms which last for more than three weeks and seek advice from your GP if you are concerned. 

"On many occasions this won’t turn out to be cancer, but if a patient has symptoms which turn out to be cancer, the earlier it’s diagnosed the better."

For information go to the Macmillan website or the NHS website.

This article was written by Jack Tooth. To contact him, email jack.tooth@newsquest.co.uk or follow @JTRTooth on Twitter.