Woman And Medical Negligence Lawyers Support Major Awareness Campaign
A mum diagnosed with cervical cancer nearly eight years after a smear test showed borderline cell changes has revealed the impact the disease has had on her life.
Frances Kavanagh, of St George, Two Mile Hill, Bristol, was diagnosed with cervical cancer after a smear test showed high-grade cells changes. The mum-of-two had previously attended two screening appointments and was told the results showed borderline cell changes. She also attended an appointment for a further examination because of her history of borderline cell changes.
Following her diagnosis it was found that her cancer had spread to her lymph nodes. Frances underwent chemotherapy, radiotherapy and brachytherapy, where radiation is inserted into the body near to the cancer. Following cancer treatment she developed bowel, bladder and kidney problems.
The 43-year-old now has a permanent stoma and has been told she may need a kidney transplant in the future.
Frances asks lawyers to investigate cancer diagnosis
Frances has instructed expert medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate her care under University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust and help her access the specialist support and therapies she requires. The Trust was responsible for analysing her test results and performing the follow up examination.
It comes after an audit of Frances’ two previous smears – carried out following her diagnosis - found there was evidence of high-grade cells changes.
Supporting Cervical Cancer Prevention Week
Speaking for the first time about her diagnosis Frances has now joined her legal team in supporting Cervical Cancer Prevention Week.
Expert Opinion“The last few years and coming to terms with her diagnosis and its impact has been incredibly difficult for not only Frances but her family.
“Understandably she has a number of concerns about her diagnosis and whether more could have been done to prevent her cancer developing given her history of borderline cell changes.
“While nothing can make up for what she’s been through and continues to face, we’re now investigating Frances’ concerns to provide her with the answers and the specialist support she deserves.
“However, it’s also vital people continue to take part in the screening programme and attend smear appointments. Through our work we sadly see the impact that cervical cancer can have and how early detection and treatment are key to beating cancer.” James Pink
Cervical cancer: Frances Kavanagh's story
Frances, who has two children, Chloe, 26, and Karlos, 23, and three grandchildren, attended a smear test in October 2009. The results, the following month, showed borderline changes. She was advised to attend a follow up appointment in three years.
She underwent another routine screening in March 2013 which also showed borderline changes. Frances was advised to attend a follow up examination because of difficulty in interpreting some cells and her history of borderline changes.
During the appointment a biopsy was taken. However, there was an issue with the biopsy and so a repeat biopsy was advised but never arranged.
In June 2017 Frances underwent a smear which showed severe cells changes. Following tests, she was diagnosed with cervical cancer.
Following treatment she was given the all-clear from cancer but still lives with bowel, bladder and kidney issues.
Bristol mum reveals impact disease has had on life
Frances said: “It’s almost impossible to find the words to describe what the last few years have been like.
“While after my third smear test when I was told I had severe cells changes, deep down I knew it was serious, but nothing still prepares you for the news that it was cancer. I was absolutely devastated.
“The treatment, particularly while trying to come to terms with my diagnosis was difficult, not just physically but emotionally. I suffered extreme fatigue, lost weight and started developing problems with my bladder.
“While I’ve been told that I’m cancer free I remain nervous that it might come back. I now also have to live with my other issues which have a profound effect on me.
“I’m mindful of my appearance, particularly because of my stoma and have been told that I might have to undergo a kidney transplant in the future.
“I feel like my quality of life has deteriorated and I don’t really have a social life outside of my family. My family have been amazing through all of this and I’m so thankful to them for their support. I’d be lost without them.
“I know nothing will make up what I’ve been through, but I feel that the least I deserve is answers.”
Cervical Cancer Prevention Weeks runs from 23-29 January and is organised by the charity Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust. More information can be found on the Jo's Trust website.