Woman Diagnosed With Cervical Cancer After Smear Test Which Showed Signs Of Abnormal Cells Classed As Negative
A mum-of-two diagnosed with terminal cancer is supporting a major awareness campaign declaring the disease “has devastated my entire life.”
Lisa Stannard was diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer in 2018. Following her diagnosis an audit was carried out which showed a previous smear test performed around three years earlier, which was classed as negative, showed signs of abnormal cells.
Lisa, of Banwell, Somerset, underwent treatment including chemotherapy, radiotherapy and brachytherapy, where radiotherapy is inserted directly into the body near the cancer. Following treatment Lisa was told there were no signs of cancer. However, after suffering pain around her hip and back, in August 2021 she was told there had been a recurrence of her cancer in her upper abdominal lymph nodes.
Following further treatment she was told the cancer had gone, only to be later told it had come back for a second time and was incurable.
Doctors believe the 52-year-old may only have months to live.
Lisa asks lawyers to investigate medical care
Lisa, who has had to give up her job as an administrative assistant for a church, has instructed expert medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate her care under North Bristol NHS Trust which was responsible for analysing her test results.
In a letter to Lisa in May 2020 the Trust apologised, saying that if abnormal cells had been identified in 2015 she would have received a two-week referral for a further examination “and may have had treatment at that time, which may have prevented your cancer from developing.”
However, following legal submissions the Trust denied liability. Through NHS Resolution it argued the reporting of Lisa’s 2015 smear test “was of a reasonable and acceptable standard.”
Lisa and legal team support Cervical Cancer Prevention Week
With the legal case continuing Lisa has joined her legal team at Irwin Mitchell in supporting Cervical Cancer Prevention Week and raising awareness of the symptoms of the disease.
Expert Opinion“Through our work we sadly continue to see the terrible impact cancer has on families and how many people are left wanting answers following a diagnosis.
“Understandably Lisa and her loved ones are devastated by her prognosis and what the future may hold especially while having concerns about the events that unfolded in the lead up to her initial diagnosis.
“We continue to support Lisa and are determined to provide her with the answers she deserves. We call on the Trust to work with us to resolve her case, allowing Lisa to focus on spending time with her family.
“In the meantime we join her in supporting Cervical Cancer Prevention Week which is an incredibly important campaign in raising awareness of signs and symptoms of the disease, the need to take part in screening and the help and support available following diagnosis.” James Pink
Cancer: Lisa Stannard's story
Lisa attended a medical appointment in June 2015 complaining of bleeding. A smear test was performed, which was classed as negative. She was advised to attend a follow up in three years.
Lisa, who has a daughter Holly, 20, and son, Will, 16, started experiencing irregular periods and lower abdominal pain. In early 2018 she attended a GP appointment and was referred for further tests, including scans and a smear.
Lisa was diagnosed with cervical cancer in April 2018. Following treatment she was told in November 2018 that there were no signs of cancer.
In June 2021 she started suffering pain around her right hip which spread, including around her back. Following further tests Lisa was told that August that her cancer had come back. Lisa underwent further chemotherapy following which she was told there was no sign of the disease.
However, during August 2021, Lisa was told her cancer had come back again and was pressing on her kidney.
Doctors have told her the cancer is incurable and only manageable.
Somerset mum Lisa reveals impact disease has had on her and her children
Lisa said: “I’ve always understood the importance of attending every smear test and been very aware of the risks if you do not attend but when I was told my test was negative I didn’t really think much of it.
“When I started experiencing my symptoms I knew it was best to seek medical advice but the news that I had cancer was a lot to take in. I was very worried about having to tell Holly and Will and was fearful of the treatment.
“After my initial treatment I was very unwell. I was in bed for five weeks and unable to do anything physically. I was exhausted, found it difficult to move due to the pain that I was in so when I was told the cancer had gone it was huge relief.
“I felt I was making good progress. I was back to work and was able to go out again and meet friends. But then not long after I felt as things started to be getting worse. I started experiencing pain but nothing prepared me for the news that the cancer had come back.
“I’ve tried to fight it as much as possible but I’m aware that my condition will only worsen with time.
“Before my diagnosis I lived a happy life and was lucky enough to suffer from no significant health problems.
“I did a lot of community work and helped arrange events such as jumble sales, a village carnival as well as bake sales and discos for the children. I was kept very busy with my community work, and my life revolved around my children. However, that’s all changed now I struggle to do anything without the help of others.
“Cancer has devastated my entire life. The most upsetting thing is seeing the impact it’s had on my children who’ve had to miss out on large parts of their lives to help me. To have to tell them that I may not have long to live was indescribably upsetting for us all.
“I know I face an uncertain future and want to try and spend as much time as I can with my family, but I also feel I deserve answers about my diagnosis.
“I just hope that speaking out I can also raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of cervical cancer to help others.”
Cervical Cancer Prevention Weeks runs from 23-29 January and is organised by the charity Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust. More information is available on the Jo's Trust website.
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