Woman diagnosed with cancer after being turned away by GP several times
| Last updated
Featured Image Credit: SWNS
WARNING: Article contains graphic content
A woman who was diagnosed with cancer after being turned away by a GP several times has shared her story to raise awareness of signs and symptoms to look out for.
Elizabeth Williams, 60, visited her GP multiple times with a lesion on her nose, having noticed scabbing and bleeding over a period of two-and-a-half years.
She was initially given cream to treat the problem and was referred to dermatology, but after changing doctors in May 2019, she was sent to a clinic for a biopsy.
She underwent surgery, including reconstruction of her nostril, ear skin flap, radiotherapy and a de-bulking revision procedure.
Williams, an assistant manager at her local authority in Dorchester, Dorset, said hearing she had cancer was a moment she would ‘never forget’.
''I had been to the doctor more than once about my nose, but not for one minute did I ever think it was something that serious,” she said.
“When I was given my diagnosis, I was devastated. As it had been there for some time, I was also worried that it might have spread.
“I’ve been left with facial scarring due to the surgery, and also had to have part of my nose reconstructed which was really distressing to go through.”
Williams is now thankfully free of cancer, but the emotional impact remains.
“While I’m now cancer free, I’m constantly worried that it’s going to come back,” she continued.
''The whole experience has really taken its toll on my mental health and really knocked my confidence. At the same time, I’m so grateful to still be here and thankful for the support I’ve had.
''I know nothing will change what’s happened, but I want to make others aware of what to look out for when it comes to skin cancer.
“I also need some answers; I feel like it’s the least I deserve.”
Williams was prescribed a cream to use for three-to-four weeks when she first visited her original GP in December 2017, but wasn’t given any advice on what to do if the lesion didn’t go away – nor was a follow-up appointment arranged.
It wasn’t until May 2019 when she went to another surgery that a routine referral was made to a dermatology clinic, with Williams reporting swelling around the site of the lesion a few months later in August.
The referral was upgraded to urgent, and she underwent a biopsy later that month before being diagnosed with cancer that September.
She has now asked expert medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate her care, and look into whether or not more could have been done to diagnose and treat her sooner.
Alice Webster, the specialist medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing Elizabeth, said: “The last few years have been incredibly difficult for Elizabeth as she struggled to come to terms with her diagnosis.
“Understandably, she also has a number of concerns over whether more could have been done to diagnose and treat her cancer sooner, given that she had attended GP appointments on various occasions regarding the lesion on her nose.
“While nothing can make up for what Elizabeth has been through, we’re now investigating her concerns to provide her with the answers she deserves.
“Sharing her story as part of World Cancer Day also gives Elizabeth the opportunity to raise awareness around the signs and symptoms of skin cancer.
“If people are concerned about their symptoms it’s vital they seek medical advice at the earliest opportunity. Early detection and treatment are key to beating cancer.”