Woman told she was cancer free dies three months after wedding from malignant tumour

Doctors told her red lump was harmless, claim family

Harriet Agerholm
Monday 13 November 2017 11:14
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Leah Debono died in January, just months after her October wedding
Leah Debono died in January, just months after her October wedding

The family of a young woman who died of cancer have said she was failed by doctors who told her the lump on her arm was harmless.

Leah Debono, 29, died in January just months after her wedding, after cancer spread to her brain, liver, lungs, spleen and bones.

Ms Debono went to see two GPs about a red lump on the underside of her arm in 2012, but they told her it was nothing to be concerned about, her family said.

She had the lump cosmetically removed, but was later diagnosed with stage four malignant melanoma.

In early 2013, she had the mole and surrounding lymph nodes completely excised and was given the all-clear.

But doctors warned there was a 30 per cent chance the cancer would come back.

She had periodic checks over the next three years and was told she was free of cancer the week before she was married in October.

“At the time of the wedding she was riddled with cancer, she would have had a brain tumour at that stage as well,” Mr Debono told Australian programme 60 Minutes.

She began suffering from headaches and nausea after the wedding and visited a GP who, despite her history, diagnosed her with stress.

But, weeks later, Ms Debano collapsed.

“She couldn't really look, she couldn't speak, her face was dropped and she had a massive brain tumour," Mr Debono said, “I was holding onto her until the end.”

Mr Debono has quit his job and sold his house. He is now travelling around Australia to raise awareness of cancer.

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