Woman Had Complained Of Heavy Bleeding Nine Months Before Diagnosis
A woman is campaigning to raise awareness of the signs of cervical cancer after being diagnosed with the disease.
Amie Roberts, 50, was diagnosed with cervical cancer in April 2019. Since the previous July she had attended several GP appointments complaining of heavy bleeding.
Following her diagnosis, Amie, of Totnes, Devon, said doctors told her that surgery to remove her tumour was not available given the stage of her cancer. She had to undergo radiation and brachytherapy.
Lawyers investigate cervical cancer diagnosis
Amie, who is now suffering severe toxicity symptoms following an aggressive course of radiation, has instructed expert medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate whether more could have been done to diagnose her cancer sooner. The cancer treatment has left her suffering with considerable post-treatment symptoms which affect her every day.
With investigations ongoing Amie and her husband Chris, have joined her legal team in supporting Cervical Cancer Prevention Week.
Expert Opinion“The last few years have been incredibly difficult for Amie and the rest of her family as she battled her cancer.
“She has a number of questions about her diagnosis and we’re now investigating these to provide her with the answers she deserves.
“Through our work we sadly see the impact that cervical cancer can have. Amie hopes that by sharing her story she can help others be aware of the symptoms and the need to take part in the screening programme.
“We will continue to support Amie and join her in supporting this incredibly important campaign.
“Early detection and treatment are key to beating cancer.” Elise Burvill - Solicitor
Our client's cervical cancer story
Amie, a therapist and yoga instructor, visited a GP in July 2018 complaining of heavy and abnormal bleeding. She said that no examination was undertaken and a PAP smear was not offered. She was told to return if the bleeding worsened.
Around two weeks later she called the surgery and was referred for an ultrasound scan.
Despite the ultrasound scan presenting as normal, in November 2018, she visited the GP again saying the bleeding had continued.
Following a further GP appointment in February 2019, Amie was referred to a gynaecologist at the end of March 2019. During this appointment, the doctor did an exam and noticed abnormal cell growth. Again, no PAP smear was offered. A procedure to remove the cells, known as Lletz, was scheduled for the end of August.
However, Amie still felt that something was wrong and decided to seek the opinion of a private doctor. A biopsy was taken in May 2019 which came back positive for cervical cancer.
Amie started a course of 25 radiation treatments in December 2019. The second part of the treatment is brachytherapy which she commenced in December 2019. By March 2020, Amie was told that the treatment plan had sufficiently removed the tumour. The toxicity effects of the treatment are ongoing and affect her every day.
'Something was wrong' ahead of cervical cancer diagnosis
Amie said: “I knew something serious was wrong, but whenever I attended a medical appointment, the doctors focused on perimenopause as the primary reason behind my symptoms.
“I was worried that they seemed to be ruling out other conditions too quickly. On a number of occasions, I was offered hormones and various drugs which would slow the bleeding. I was never offered a PAP smear.
“I was upset and angry at what had happened. When I was told that surgery to remove my cancer was not an option it was difficult not to think the worst.
Woman raises awareness of cervical cancer to help others
“However, I then became determined to learn as much as I could about my particular type of cancer and I made specific changes in my life that would support the healing. Radiotherapy was particularly difficult and painful but the support from my family and friends helped get me through it. I can’t thank them enough for everything they did.
“I still have a number of concerns about what happened during the time when I was seeking medical support before my diagnosis.
“The symptoms I had were red flags for cancer and yet, I wasn’t offered a simple PAP smear. I feel it is so important for women to trust themselves and their bodies.
“If they feel something isn’t right then it’s imperative to inform themselves more about their symptoms and if they want more done in the way of testing - ask for it. Do not put it off even if a doctor says it isn’t necessary. If you aren’t getting the support you need - get a second opinion or even a third. Every woman needs to be informed, aware and empowered around their own health.”
Find out more about our expertise in supporting women and families affected by cervical cancer at our dedicated cancer advice section. Alternatively to speak to an expert contact us or call 0370 1500 100.
Cervical Cancer Prevention Week runs from 18-24 January and is organised by the charity Jo’s Trust. For more information visit www.jostrust.org.uk