A mum has issued a serious warning to other women after discovering that the agonising pain she suffered during her pregnancy later turned out to be a symptom of cervical cancer.
Nicola Cameron, 29, from Scotland was told by medics that the unbearable pain she was suffering - including severe cramps, pain during sex, and bleeding - was just due to her pregnancy. Unfortunately, something far more sinister was at play.
Five months after giving birth to her baby girl, Nicola was diagnosed with stage three cervical cancer, when doctors found a three-inch tumour on her cervix.
Initially, Nicola was told that the pain and bleeding was down to an emergency C-section she had to get during the birth of her daughter.
After a series of blood tests, X-rays, a post-natal depression diagnosis, and a prescription of 32 tablets per day, Nicola was finally given a biopsy, which lead to the heartbreaking cancer diagnosis.
"I thought I was going to die and never get to see my beautiful daughter, Blair, grow up and that she would have to go through her life without knowing her mum", said Nicola.
"The doctor started to explain things to me as best they could and I had to interrupt and say ‘sorry, did you say that you think this is definitely cancer?’ And when she answered yes, that’s when I started crying."
It wasn't until a few weeks later that the reality of Nicola's diagnosis finally sank in.
"The smallest things would set me off as I was just so scared about the future and what was going to happen to me, and also my family if the worst outcome was to happen."
Since then, Nicola has undergone three rounds of chemotherapy and is now due to start radiotherapy in October 2022, as well as four rounds of brachytherapy.
Despite the serious toll that the treatment is taking on her, Nicola is determined to stay strong for her daughter in the hopes of getting to see her grow up.
"It also worries me that something could also happen to her when she’s older", she said.
"What if she has a similar diagnosis when she’s a young woman or even later in life? I just want her to grow up to be happy and healthy, as every mother does.
"I’m also scared at the thought of getting better, then cancer reoccurring, and having to go through all this again when my daughter is older and will know more about what is going on. "
Now Nicola is telling her story to urge other women to speak up if something doesn't feel right, and push back if doctors dismiss them.
"Don’t let your pain or symptoms be pushed aside as you never know when it’s going to be too late for you", she said. "You deserve to be heard and looked after."
If 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
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