Woman battling cervical cancer claims she was repeatedly ‘fobbed off’ by doctors who thought she was too young have the disease because she was just 27
- Tracey Burke, 30, from Dundee, needs to raise £70,000 for last-ditch treatment
- Standard NHS treatments did not work and the cancer spread to lymph nodes
- She says doctors did not act quickly enough and treatment started late
A woman battling cervical cancer has started a last-ditch fundraiser for life-saving treatment after she claims she was ‘fobbed off’ by doctors.
Tracey Burke, 30, from Dundee, was diagnosed in 2015 and is now seeking £90,000 private treatment in Germany because none of the NHS treatments worked.
She says doctors played down her concerns because they thought she was too young to have the disease, which means there was a delay in her diagnosis and treatment.
Mrs Burke and husband Greg have raised more than £22,000 of their £70,000 target on GoFundMe, for treatment for the cancer, which has spread to her lymph nodes.
She is now urging other women in a similar situation to keep badgering their GP until they are happy with the answers they get.
Tracey Burke and husband Greg have started a fundraiser for £70,000 towards the cost of £90,000 immunotherapy treatment in Germany
After being diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2015, aged just 27, Mrs Burke was given chemotherapy, radiotherapy and brachytherapy, a form of internal radiotherapy.
None of the treatments worked, however, and Mrs Burke says she could have started therapy sooner if GPs had not ‘sent her on her way’ on several occasions.
She had a hysterectomy – womb removal – to get rid of tumours, but it was then discovered the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes in both sides of her pelvis.
Describing her trouble getting diagnosed in a blog, Tracey writes: ‘I had been to the doctors several times with my symptoms but because my smears were clear and my young age I got fobbed off repeatedly and sent on my way.
‘If it wasn’t for me contacting them and insisting further investigation god knows where I would have been left.
‘So if anyone reading this is in a similar situation please do not stop contacting your GP until you’re happy with answers you’re getting.’
Last hope for couple who want to start a family
Mr and Mrs Burke got married in 2016 after spending eight inseparable years together.
Following their tragic diagnosis the couple have had fertility treatment to harvest embryos in the hope that one day they can start their own family.
Mrs Burke shaved her head in a ‘Brave the Shave’ fundraiser which raised £11,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support
However, Mr Burke, 34, says an immunotherapy trial in Germany, costing £90,000, is the last thing that could save his wife’s life.
‘There is nothing more they can do for her,’ he writes on the GoFundMe page. ‘All the standard NHS treatments have not worked so the private treatment is our last hope.
‘We are now fundraising to have her treated privately at clinic in Germany who use immunotherapy as a treatment.
Immunotherapy treatment costs £90,000
‘The estimated costs are around £90,000 but we are asking for £70,000 as we have a certain amount we can put towards this ourselves. This treatment can potentially cure Tracey.
‘I understand times are hard for people but please spare anything you can to help us. I can’t imagine life without Tracey by my side.’
Last month, Tracey had been accepted for a trial for immunotherapy but was dropped due to a cut in numbers.
The therapy is still in trial stages for some cancers, and works by stimulating the body’s own immune system to fight the disease.
Mrs Burke had to have kidney drains put in to relieve pressure in her abdomen which was caused by the growing cancer
Writing about her journey, Tracey said: ‘The night we got told I had cancer kind of passed in a blur.
‘I was prepared for it so no tears or upset from me.
‘But seeing my partner Greg break his heart on the doctor’s floor, then having to go face my mum and best friend who didn’t even know I was having issues, that was the real tough thing.
‘Everyone focuses on the person who has the disease but hardest of all, for me anyway, is watching your loved ones struggle to cope with what you’re going through.’
‘Women your age don’t get cancer’
In a similar case, a newlywed from Crossgates, Fife last year revealed that she had just months to live after a GP missed a lump in her breast and told her ‘Women your age don’t get cancer’.
Deanna Wilson, 36, found a rapidly-growing lump three years ago and went to see her family doctor, was sent away, and three months later after persistence was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Ms Wilson continues to receive treatment.
SYMPTOMS OF CERVICAL CANCER
The symptoms of cervical cancer aren’t always obvious, and it may not cause any symptoms at all until it’s reached an advanced stage.
This is why it’s very important that you attend all of your cervical screening appointments.
In most cases, vaginal bleeding is the first noticeable symptom of cervical cancer. It usually occurs after having sex.
Bleeding at any other time, other than your expected monthly period, is also considered unusual. This includes bleeding after the menopause (when a woman’s monthly periods stop).
Other symptoms of cervical cancer may include pain and discomfort during sex and an unpleasant smelling vaginal discharge.
Advanced cervical cancer
If the cancer spreads out of your cervix and into surrounding tissue and organs, it can trigger a range of other symptoms, including:
- Blood in your urine (haematuria)
- Loss of bladder control (urinary incontinence)
- Bone pain
- Swelling of one of your legs
- Severe pain in your side or back caused by swelling in your kidneys, related to a condition called hydronephrosis
- Changes to your bladder and bowel habits
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Tiredness and a lack of energy
Source: NHS Choices
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