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Mum died day after being diagnosed with cancer as family 'didn’t know the signs'

Anish Vij

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| Last updated 

Mum died day after being diagnosed with cancer as family 'didn’t know the signs'

Featured Image Credit: Leukaemia UK

A woman unexpectedly and tragically died just one day after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of blood cancer.

Liz Taylor - who suffered from tiredness and migraines - was unaware that they were symptoms of acute promyelocytic leukaemia (APML).

In 2021, the mum-of-two was working full-time as a teaching assistant at Stafford Leys Primary School in Leicester.

She thought that being fatigued was down to her hectic job and lifestyle.

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After her symptoms became more severe - including pains in the chest, a pain in her leg, migraines and blurred vision - she was offered a blood test.

Her husband, Jonathan, from Desford, Leicestershire, explained: "This showed her blood count was very low and was at serious risk of infection, but no reason could be found other than possibly some kind of virus."

Liz Taylor - who suffered from tiredness and migraines - was unaware that they were symptoms of acute promyelocytic leukaemia. Credit: Leukaemia UK
Liz Taylor - who suffered from tiredness and migraines - was unaware that they were symptoms of acute promyelocytic leukaemia. Credit: Leukaemia UK

When her condition worsened, Liz went to visit A&E, where she diagnosed with neutropenia – a low number of a particular type of white cells in her blood.

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The MRI scan revealed marks on the brain and Liz began to suffer from a series of mini-strokes.

She was later admitted to Leicester Royal Infirmary and diagnosed with APML.

"Given blood clots are generally a major cause of strokes, the hospital’s initial diagnosis was that a heart problem had been causing the multiple blood clots and strokes – which later proved not to be the case," Jonathan explained.

"During the following 10 days, Liz underwent numerous cardio checks and assessments, during which time she suffered a larger, more serious stroke.

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"Having been initially cancelled due to her hospital admission 10 days earlier, eventually a bone marrow test was scheduled."

Liz passed away the day after her APML diagnosis on July 14, 2022.

Jonathan is now pushing for others to get themselves checked if they carry any symptoms.

The husband, who has helped raise almost £20,000 for charity, added: "Before Liz’s eventual diagnosis, the tell-tale signs were dismissed as fatigue, menopausal, migraines and eye deterioration.

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"Even later, having suffered from mini strokes, the prognosis was to investigate it from a cardiology not from a haematology viewpoint.

The family are urging for others to get themselves checked. Credit: Leukaemia UK
The family are urging for others to get themselves checked. Credit: Leukaemia UK

"Sadly, for Liz, the now-obvious multiple symptoms she had from APML were never all joined up, and heartbreakingly the eventual bone marrow test came too late.

"Guilt isn’t the right word, but there is widespread remorse and regret that with all of Liz’s symptoms the family and medical teams hadn’t been knowledgeable enough to understand and link together the true symptoms of APML.

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"Our focus now is on leaving a positive legacy in Liz’s name, through charity events and raising awareness on the early signs of leukaemia, in particular APML."

According to Leukaemia UK, the most common symptoms are:

  • fatigue (tiredness that lasts a long time and doesn’t improve with rest)
  • bruising and bleeding more easily, or bleeding that takes longer to stop
  • infections that are more frequent, severe, or last longer
  • fever (high temperature)
  • weight loss that is unexplained
  • swollen lymph nodes (glands in your neck, armpit and groin)
  • breathlessness
  • feeling generally unwell.

There are other general symptoms of leukemia such as loss of appetite and headaches. Contact your GP if you're worried about any symptoms you’re experiencing.

f you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence, contact Macmillan’s Cancer Support Line on 0808 808 00 00, 8am–8pm seven days a week

Topics: UK News, Health

Anish Vij
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