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Delayed Diagnosis: 'A brain tumor at 14 - that doctors failed to notice'

This week Emily Jupp ran a campaign to prevent delays in diagnosis of cancer in young people. Here we see some of your reactions.

This week, we've been trying to raise awareness of delays in diagnosing young people with cancer.

The first article in the campaign, in association with Teenage Cancer Awareness Week, was seen by over 12,000 people on Facebook, and got 9,162 page views. The series as a whole was seen by over 18,000 people online.

Plus, a lot of you wrote in, signed up your school or university for a visit from the Teenage Cancer Trust, or commented on the articles. Thank you for your support, and sharing your stories. Hopefully this will all help to raise awareness of the issue.

Here are some of your responses to the campaign:

A brain tumor at 14 - that doctors failed to notice

This happened to me! When I was 14, I visited the GP at least 50 times complaining of nausea and headaches.  The GP asked me on maybe 5 occasions whether I was pregnant, and asked me if there was something I wasn't telling my mother, directly in front of her!

They kept this going for 6 months, completely ignoring my symptoms (even though I was passing out and vomiting constantly) before referring me to an ENT specialist, but told me not to mention the headaches as it might put them off track in diagnosing what the GP thought to be an ear infection... ENT then diagnosed me with a brain tumour, which thanks to the 6 month delay had grown to the size of a tennis ball, and the fluid had built up so much that I needed an emergency operation to fit a reservoir.

I am now 18, and only just beginning to realise how badly I was treated. I am SO angry. I'm glad everything worked out for you, your mother sounds amazing.




This is what happened to Kristin Hellenga! Support her charity Coppafeel?



Keep persisting

If you have a GP who does not take you seriously, insist, insist, insist on a second opinion. My brother is dying right now from melanoma. If he had been sent to a specialist in time and all the tests done, I am convinced he would still have a chance to live. I am angry and sick...

David Baird


Sympathetic exasperation

I read with sympathetic exasperation the article written by Emily Jupp regarding her doctor's professional inadequacy at diagnosing the fact she had melanoma. The second doctor and the practice manager were no better. The treatment she received from these health officials was abysmal. Thank goodness for Emily's mother's persistence.

Emily's situation was very similar to my own four years ago. I went to my family GP with a swollen stomach and a general feeling of feeling unwell. The doctor said I had a viral infection and I was sent away. I returned later at my husband's insistence but again was told I was making a fuss. Three weeks after that I again went back to the doctor and had, like Emily, to have a near on nervous breakdown to insist I was given a scan. Very reluctantly the doctor made an appointment for the following week to have a basic scan. It showed that I had severe and widespread ovarian cancer which was so advanced I had to be taken into hospital immediately and subsequently I had to have a major operation followed by weeks of chemotherapy.

I am very pleased that there is a campaign to raise awareness as part of Teenage Cancer Awareness week to highlight the key signs of this cancer. Over the last four years ovarian cancer and its symptoms have been hi-lighted which has resulted in posters being shown in doctors' waiting rooms and a publicity campaign to raise the awareness of doctors and the general public to the symptoms. This will have undoubtedly saved lives.

Yours sincerely
Ann Shirley


You can view all the articles in the series here:

The dangers of delayed diagnosis: why doctors are the first battle in the war against cancer

'I get out the pictures of myself in chemo, and go "boom! there you go, proof I understand".'

Why GPs need to start taking young patients seriously

Teenagers are good at listening to their own bodies – we should be listening too

Delayed Diagnosis: The persistence of hope - Ol Parker discusses new film Now is Good starring Dakota Fanning and Jeremy Irvine

Join our Delayed Diagnosis campaign. Sign your school up today.