Secondary cancer diagnosis lags ‘unacceptable’

Secondary cancer diagnosis delays 'unacceptable'

Secondary Cancer Diagnosis Lags 'unacceptable'

Secondary Cancer Diagnosis Lags 'unacceptable' Image copyright Jo Myatt Image caption Jo Myatt had breast cancer at the age of 30 and was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer 10 years later

One in four patients with secondary breast cancer had to visit their GP three or more hours before they got a diagnosis, a survey suggests.

A breast cancer charity said there should be more awareness that the disease can spread to other parts of the body.

GPs said they were do their best for patients but symptoms could be difficult to spot.

In the UK, 35,000 people are living with the incurable sort of the disease.

Breast Cancer Now said it was “unacceptable” that some people whose cancer had spread were not getting early access to treatments which could alleviate symptoms and improve their quality of life.

“For too long now, the worrying perception that everyone survives breast cancer has masked the heartbreaking reality for 11,500 families in the UK that lose person they love each year, ” the charity said.

The advanced, or metastatic form of the disease means the cancer has spread through the blood and generated secondary cancers in the bones, liver, lung or brain.

It cannot be cured and patients stay in treatment for the rest of their lives.

‘I felt stupid and naive’

Jo Myatt, 43, from Chorley, went to see her GP five times over a number of years before discovering that breast cancer had spread to her liver and bones.

“I felt like a hypochondriac for going all the time, ” she says.

Her symptoms started with missed periods and nausea before becoming more serious and persistent, leaving her unable to move her neck.

But no-one had mentioned secondary breast cancer as a potential when she was diagnosed 10 years previously.

“I was devastated. I felt stupid and naive, ” Jo says.

Secondary Cancer Diagnosis Lags 'unacceptable' Image copyright Jo Myatt Image caption Jo with her nieces

“People don’t realise it can spread to other areas of the body and you can having nothing in your breast.”

Jo is now on her fourth treatment and waiting anxiously for the results of her latest scans.

She knows she is eventually going to run out of options, but she exhorts other women to speak up.

“If you’re worried about pain, make doctors aware of your history.

“You’re not running mad – the sooner you find the secondary, the better health you’re going to be in and the more it can be contained.”

What are the symptoms of secondary breast cancer?

They can vary depending on where the cancer has spread to, but common signs and symptoms include 😛 TAGEND unexpected weight loss or loss of appetite discomfort or swelling under the ribs or across the upper abdomen severe or continuing headaches altered vision or speech feeling sick the majority of cases breathlessness or a dry cough loss of balance or weakness or numbness of the legs any globs or swellings under the arm, breastbone or collarbone pain in the bones( eg back, hips or ribs) that doesn’t get better with pain relief and may be worse at night

Secondary Cancer Diagnosis Lags 'unacceptable'
Secondary Cancer Diagnosis Lags 'unacceptable'
Secondary Cancer Diagnosis Lags 'unacceptable'
Secondary Cancer Diagnosis Lags 'unacceptable'
Secondary Cancer Diagnosis Lags 'unacceptable'

Secondary Cancer Diagnosis Lags 'unacceptable'

Secondary Cancer Diagnosis Lags 'unacceptable'

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