Four warning signs of blood cancer revealed

Jolene Segrave, 32, said she spent roughly two months trying to get seen at The Ridge Medical Centre before being diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkin lymphoma

Douglas Whitbread
Wednesday 12 April 2023 06:31 BST
Related: Blood test detects signs of cancer in healthy people, study finds

A mother claims she made 200 calls to her GP for an appointment before swapping surgeries and discovering she had an advanced form of blood cancer.

Jolene Segrave, 32, said she spent roughly two months trying to get seen at The Ridge Medical Centre before being diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkin lymphoma.

The mother-of-three felt like she was going to have a “heart attack” last October when she developed weight loss, intense itching, lumps on her skin and night sweats.

But despite trying hundreds of times to get seen by a local doctor, she claims she was unable to arrange a consultation.

Jolene only found out she had an aggressive form of blood cancer when she decided to take her whole family to another practice, who then referred her to specialists.

She said: “I called 200 times to get through. [On one] particular call…when I finally managed to get through…they cut me off before I even entered the queuing system.

“I moved my entire family out of there [The Ridge Medical Centre].”

She added: “I thought I was going to have a heart attack. It is not something you expect to get when you are 32.

“I would tell people that if you have any lumps make sure they are checked out straight away. You might even have to change your GP like I did.”

Jolene, from Bradford, West Yorkshire, who has kids aged ten, five and one, said she began to feel very unwell roughly six months ago with a worrying array of symptoms.

But she says claims screen grabs from her phone prove she made hundreds of unsuccessful calls to her surgery and once spent over 53 minutes on hold only to be cut off.

(Jolene Segrave / SWNS)

In December, she registered her family with Bradford Student Health Services, where she was given an appointment and then referred via the Two Week Wait scheme.

And when medics found two lumps on her neck, she was sent to a specialist at the Bradford Royal Infirmary and then for an ultrasound-guided biopsy.

One month later, in January this year, she received the devastating news that she had Hodgkin lymphoma, a rare cancer that develops in the lymphatic system.

Jolene has since started chemotherapy for the disease - which was found in her neck, armpit, abdomen and bones - and has shaved off all her hair after it fell out following a nap.

She said: “This type of cancer is very aggressive. There are six cycles of escalation. I am okay but the chemotherapy does make you quite tired.

“One day I fell asleep on the sofa and woke up with hair all over the cushions. I knew then it was time to cut it all off. I wanted to take control.”

(Jolene Segrave / SWNS)

A spokesperson from The Ridge Medical Practice wished Jolene the best for her treatment but refused to confirm if she was a previous patient with them.

They said: “We are very sorry to hear that this lady has a diagnosis of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, that must be very upsetting for her and her family, and we hope that her treatment goes well and has positive outcomes for her.

“As we respect and take very seriously our obligations around confidentiality and information governance, we can neither confirm nor deny whether this lady has ever been on our patient list and we cannot respond specifically to the issues raised to us in this story.

“We always encourage patients to let us know as soon as they are experiencing any problems with our services as most of the time we can help them straight away and advise about ways of getting the best from our practice every time they need us.

“Our complaints procedures are clearly displayed on our website and in our surgeries and include advice about getting help in being supported by an advocacy team to ensure that patients have equitable access to giving us feedback about our Practice.

“We constantly keep access to our services under review and strive to find ways of improving this.”

The Ridge Medical Practice has been contacted for further comment.

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