Retired Administrator Diagnosed With Disease Eight Months After She Was Sent For Investigations Under Two-Week Urgent Cancer Referral At Which She Was Given HRT Cream
A grandmother diagnosed with a gynaecological cancer is raising awareness of the signs of the disease after being given the devastating news that her condition is terminal.
Christine Candy, of Southsea, Hampshire, has spoken for the first time about her diagnosis. It came eight months after she was sent by a GP to a gynaecology clinic in March 2020, under the two-week urgent cancer referral, after an ulcerated area of between one to two centimetres was found.
Following the GP referral, Christine was seen at the Gynaecology clinic at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth. She was subsequently sent for non-urgent tests and prescribed a HRT cream.
She continued to experience bleeding. In July 2020, she was referred by her GP to the clinic for a second time. She waited nearly four months for a scan, which raised areas of suspicion.
After further tests, she was diagnosed with stage four cancer in December 2020 – around eight months after first complaining of bleeding.
Following her diagnosis, Christine, 70, instructed expert medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate her care under Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust and help her access the specialist therapies and support she requires. They are also investigating whether more could have been done to diagnose and treat her cancer sooner.
Despite undergoing treatment, Christine’s condition is now terminal. She has joined with her legal team in raising awareness of her condition and the signs to look out for.
Expert Opinion“Christine has been left devastated at her initial diagnosis then the subsequent news that her cancer is now terminal. Understandably Christine continues to have many questions over her diagnosis and whether her cancer could have been identified and treated sooner.
Whilst there’s nothing we can do to change what she’s been through, we’re now investigating her concerns and are determined to provide her with the answers she deserves.
Christine is now sharing her story to make others aware of the symptoms of the disease and how early detection and treatment is key to beating it.” Alice Webster, Medical Negligence Lawyer
Christine had previously been found to have abnormal cervical cells and underwent a total abdominal hysterectomy in 1996.
She attended her GP on 13 March 2020, reporting abnormal bleeding. The GP felt an ulcerated area and referred her to gynaecology under a two week cancer wait.
She was seen at the gynaecology clinic on 25 March 2020, where no mass or growth was reported. At this time, she was prescribed a cream and told she would be reviewed in four months time. She was also referred for non-urgent scans.
On 25 June 2020, Christine underwent an ultrasound scan. Again, no abnormality was reported. A vaginal scan had also been requested, but Christine said it was decided by staff not to proceed with it because of potential discomfort and bleeding, despite Christine saying she wanted to proceed.
Christine contacted her GP again on 21 July 2020, complaining of more frequent bleeding. The GP requested a review at the gynaecology clinic as soon as possible, and it was noted that Christine’s four-month follow-up was also due. However, they were advised that clinics were running around one month overdue.
On 18 November 2020, Christine attended her follow-up appointment at the gynaecology clinic. A trans-vaginal scan was performed. An area of suspicion was identified. An MRI scan was carried out one week later.
Christine underwent further tests that December, following which she was given a diagnosis of cancer.
During the past two years, Christine has undergone chemotherapy and treatment for pelvic lymphadenopathy, which is a swelling of the lymph glands as well as radiotherapy and brachytherapy. Sadly, she has been advised that her condition is terminal.
Christine, who lives with her husband and is a retired administrator, said: “I was absolutely shocked when I was told I had stage four cancer. I knew something wasn’t quite right, but nothing prepared me for the diagnosis. I am heartbroken that I will not be here to enjoy the retirement we had worked hard for or to see my grandchildren grow up.
“I have so many questions over whether my cancer could have been found sooner and if it was, would it have meant a different future for me.
“Sadly, however, it’s too late and there’s nothing that can be done to change the outcome. I just hope that by speaking out I can help others identify the signs to look out for.
“I also want some answers. I wish that I wasn’t in this position, but I can’t change that and I feel that answers are the least I deserve.
“I want to raise awareness of these issues to encourage other women like myself to trust their instincts and push for more thorough investigations when they feel something is not quite right. I want to urge women to persist in pushing for the answers when they are the ones who know their bodies the best and if something’s wrong.”