Husband And Medical Negligence Lawyers Support Major Awareness Campaign
A widower whose wife died from skin cancer has spoken for the first time of his ‘devastating’ loss as he backs a major awareness campaign.
Charlotte Kerns, of Worsley, Salford, died aged 48 after developing malignant melanoma that spread to her brain, spine, lungs and leg.
In the four years before her melanoma diagnosis, Charlotte had visited GPs several times concerned about a mole-like growth on the top of her left hand.
The growth was removed twice but grew back. No biopsies were undertaken.
Woman diagnosed with skin cancer four years after visiting GP with concerns
After the growth was removed for a third time, a biopsy was carried out that confirmed it was malignant. She underwent surgery to remove more tissue around the tumour and a skin graft to repair the damage.
Around 18 months later Charlotte, a language college’s head of studies, suffered a seizure while driving home from work. Following tests, she was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumour that was confirmed to be as a result of the malignant melanoma from her hand spreading to other parts of her body.
She underwent invasive brain surgery and radiotherapy but the brain tumour was incurable.
Charlotte asks medical negligence lawyers to investigate
Charlotte instructed specialist medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate whether her cancer could have been diagnosed sooner.
However, she endured deteriorating health until she died in November last year.
Following her death, Charlotte’s husband, Richard, aged 55, took on his wife’s quest for answers.
With investigations continuing, Richard, the managing director of public relations firm, Northern Exposure, has joined his legal team in supporting World Cancer Day.
Expert Opinion“Richard and the rest of Charlotte’s family remain devastated by her death. Understandably, Richard has a number of concerns about Charlotte’s diagnosis, and we’re investigating those concerns to provide him with the answers he deserves.
“Sadly, through our work we often see the impact cancer can have and how early detection and treatment are key to beating it.
“World Cancer Day is an important reminder of the need for everyone to be aware of the signs and symptoms of cancer.
“While nothing can make up for his loss Richard hopes that by sharing his story he can help others.” Ruth Thomas - Associate Solicitor
Malignant melanoma: Charlotte Kerns' story
In 2009, Charlotte started developing an abnormal mole-like light brown growth on the top of her left hand.
Between 2009 and 2013 it grew, became darker and started to catch on her sleeves.
In April 2013 Charlotte had the growth removed following a doctor’s appointment. She visited a doctor again in March 2015 after the lesion had grown back. It was removed in two procedures in March and April that year.
However, once again the lesion came back.
By spring 2017 it was about two square centimetres. Charlotte had the growth removed for a third time in June that year. A biopsy was taken and following tests, she was diagnosed with malignant melanoma.
In January 2019, Charlotte suffered a seizure while driving home from work. She was diagnosed with a brain tumour. The cancer later spread to her lungs, spine and leg.
Richard Kerns' tribute to wife following her death
Following Charlotte’s death last November friends and family have raised nearly £5,000 for St. Ann’s Hospice in Cheadle and Macmillan Cancer Support. The charities helped care for her in the final months of her life.
Richard said: “Charlotte thought she had better seek medical advice, but despite the lesion coming back several times she never believed she was given the impression there was anything to be concerned about.
“It was only after a few years that a biopsy was performed. We couldn’t believe it was cancerous. However, nothing then prepared us for the diagnosis after Charlotte had suffered a seizure. To be given the devastating news that cancer had spread to her brain was horrific, heart-breaking and life-changing.
“Trying to come to terms with Charlotte’s diagnosis was, and remains, particularly difficult to accept. Despite this, she fought the cancer time and again and with such courage and bravery.
“She underwent brain surgery, radiotherapy and other treatments including immunotherapy. It was really hard to see Charlotte suffering, but she was determined right until the end to try and do everything to beat cancer.
“Charlotte was such a kind, generous and loving person and her death has left a huge void in so many people’s lives. Life will never be the same without her by my side. We had so many hopes and dreams for the future that we now won’t get to fulfil.
“I’d do anything to have Charlotte back in my life. However, I know that’s not possible but feel I deserve answers regarding what happened.
“I also hope that by speaking out, people and families affected by cancer feel they don’t have to suffer alone as help and support is out there.”
World Cancer Day is an annual campaign on 4 February. Organised by the Union for International Cancer Control it aims to raise awareness of the signs of cancer, reduce deaths and increase access to life-saving treatment.
Family fundraise for charities in Charlotte's memory
A tribute page dedicated to Charlotte, with the option of making a donation to St. Ann’s and/or MacMillan, has been set up by her family.