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Mother’s terminal cancer is spotted DURING childbirth: Doctors find stage 4 tumours on her ovaries while performing C-section — after her symptoms were dismissed as ‘anxiety’ for months

  • Lois Walker was told of tumours lining her abdomen moments after giving birth
  • Tests confirmed stage 4 ovarian cancer had spread to bowel, stomach and liver
  • Mother-of-three has accused GP practice and Barnsley Hospital of ‘negligence’

A new mother has revealed her heartbreak after doctors found she had terminal cancer while she was giving birth.

Medics found Lois Walker, 38, had tumours on her ovaries, hydroxyzine hcl reviews anxiety liver and bowels as they performed a C-section on her last September.

Moments before her newborn son Ray was placed in her arms for the first time, she was given the frightening news the masses might be cancerous.

Tests days later confirmed that she had stage 4 ovarian cancer, and that it had spread all around her body. 

The mother-of-three has accused Dove Valley Practice and Barnsley Hospital of ‘negligence’ and claims there were ample opportunities to catch the cancer earlier.

Ms Walker, from Worsbrough in south Yorkshire, had complained of stomach pain for more than a year before giving birth, making 20 calls to her GP and numerous A&E trips.

She had previously been struck with skin cancer and even expressed concern to doctors that she could be suffering cancer symptoms. 

But medics had dismissed her symptoms as anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome and part of ‘getting old’, labelled her as a hypochondriac and told her to avoid dairy.

The doctor who delivered Ms Walker’s son even cried and said he had let her down, she claims.

Lois Walker, 38, (pictured with her partner Dale Wistow and newborn son Ray) was given the devastating diagnosis of stage 4 ovarian cancer during what should have been one of the happiest moments of her life

Moments before her newborn son Ray was placed in her arms for the first time nine months ago, doctors saw tumours covering her organs as they performed a caesarean section

Ms Walker, who had previously been struck with skin cancer, even expressed concern to doctors that she could be suffering cancer symptoms. But medics had dismissed her symptoms as anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome and part of ‘getting old’, labelled her as a hypochondriac and told her to avoid dairy. The doctor who delivered Ms Walker’s son even cried and said he had let her down, she claims

Ovarian cancer affects the 2 small organs (ovaries) that store the eggs needed to make babies.

Anyone with ovaries can get ovarian cancer, but it mostly affects those over 50.

Sometimes ovarian cancer runs in families.

The symptoms of ovarian cancer, such as bloating, are not always obvious.

Ovarian cancer is often diagnosed late, but early diagnosis can mean it is more treatable.

Around 7,500 women in the UK and 20,000 in the US are diagnosed with ovarian cancer every year. 

Nearly one in five women will survive for five years after a stage four diagnosis.

The main treatments are surgery and chemotherapy. Other treatments include targeted medicines and hormone treatments.

Source: NHS 

Ms Walker said: ‘It’s been absolutely diabolical. They call themselves health professionals, and they’re supposed to be giving us care, but that is negligence.

‘I just feel like it could have been caught sooner, so I wouldn’t have this late diagnosis – and I’m leaving three kids.

‘If the NHS does not acknowledge that things need to change then I feel sorry for everybody and anybody.’

Ms Walker first became unwell in June 2020, when she experienced strange bathroom habits and swelling around her diaphragm.

She regularly called doctors at Dove Valley Practice and visited Barnsley Hospital, but was told she may have IBS.

A fundraiser website set up by her sister Megan Walker, which has so far raised more than £8,000 for Cancer Research, states that she was unable to get a smear test because ‘doctors weren’t doing them’ due to Covid restrictions.

Ms Walker said she continued to phone her GP as her symptoms worsened. But the doctors just offered her drugs for hypochondria.

She said: ‘I was going to the doctors, but I couldn’t tell them anything new because it was the same symptoms always, so they treated me with antacids.

‘Then, I got told it could be health anxiety, so they put me on citalopram.

‘I already suffered from skin cancer, so I said to my doctor, “You don’t think I could have cancer?”

‘And he said, “Oh no, it’s just you getting old and bodies don’t work as well”.’

Ms Walker found out she was pregnant in December 2020 and was left in unbearable pain after gender reveal scans 14 weeks later. 

She said: ‘I could not deal with this pain, and the further the pregnancy went on, the more excruciating it became. It got to the point where I couldn’t walk or eat.

‘The doctor said that I weighed the same as I did 12 months ago, and by this time, I was nine months pregnant – and that didn’t seem to ring any alarm bells.’

Ms Walker said when the pain got too much to bear, she finally told doctors that she was prepared to kill herself if they didn’t take her concerns seriously.

She was admitted to the hospital for pain management where she was given morphine, but again there was no in-depth investigation by doctors into what was causing the pain.

Ms Walker added: ‘Then the final straw was when they had to get the mental health team involved because I said that it had reached the point where I would have to end both our lives, and I feel ashamed to say that.’

Her doctor then conducted a more thorough probe into her concerns and found a mass behind her womb – leading them to deliver her baby the next day.

And on September 3, 2021, as she went into labour with her third son, Ray, she found out from the doctor treating her that she most likely had cancer.

Ms Walker said: ‘When they opened me up, he said, ‘I thought you said you didn’t have any abdominal surgery?’ and I said I hadn’t.

‘That’s when I knew something had been found, as they called a few doctors in.

‘They just said, basically, that my abdomen was so diseased that they needed to send off some biopsies and I’d have to wait. But I knew anyway.

‘The doctor actually grabbed my hand and he cried and he actually said that he’d let me down.’

Ms Walker’s sister said her abdomen was ‘riddled with cancer’ and Ray even had an ‘indent in his head’ because he had been ‘snuggled to the tumour in her womb’.

Ms Walker’s partner Dale Wistow (right) told the BBC: ‘This could have been caught earlier than it was. It’s just a bit sickening, especially with kids. We don’t know what the future is going to bring now’

Ms Walker (pictured with Ray and her son Ronnie, 3, said: ‘It’s been really, really hard. I didn’t want to get attached to him, but he is my ray of sunshine. My kids are my purpose. I want to concentrate on making memories. If love could save me, I would never die’

Despite undergoing chemotherapy soon after she got her diagnosis, Lois then found out that her cancer had spread, and it would be terminal.

Around 7,500 women in the UK and 20,000 in the US are diagnosed with ovarian cancer every year. Nearly one in five women will survive for five years after a stage four diagnosis. 

She said: ‘My liver had fused to my diaphragm, so that had to be cut back. My bladder had fused to the back of my womb, so that had to be cut back, and all my ovaries had fused.

‘Then I had the devastating news that it’s also on my bowels, my stomach and my liver. Obviously, that’s never good – they’re my main organs that I need.

‘It’s just about a comfortable life for however long I’ve got left, and that’s where we are at the minute.’

Ms Walker told the BBC that he abdomen has ‘tumours everywhere’ and doctors had described it as ‘like a bag of sand that had been opened and it has gone everywhere’.

She said her diagnosis made her worried about becoming attached to her newborn son.

Ms Walker said: ‘It’s been really, really hard. I didn’t want to get attached to him, but he is my ray of sunshine.

‘My kids are my purpose. I want to concentrate on making memories. If love could save me, I would never die.’ 

Her partner Dale Wistow told the broadcaster: ‘This could have been caught earlier than it was. 

‘It’s just a bit sickening, especially with kids. We don’t know what the future is going to bring now.’

When asked for comment, a spokesperson from Dove Valley Practice, where Ms Walker has filed a formal complaint, said: ‘We are sorry to hear Ms Walker’s concerns about her care and that she didn’t feel listened to.

‘We carried out a review of Ms Walker’s care and referrals for tests and we shared those findings with her at that time.

‘We welcome anyone with concerns about the care they have received with us to get in touch so we can investigate.

‘Unfortunately, we cannot comment further due to our duty of confidentiality.’

A spokesperson from Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust added: ‘Barnsley Hospital is sorry to hear that Ms Walker has concerns about her care.

‘We welcome any patient with concerns about the care they have received to get in touch with our Patient Advice and Complaints Team which investigates patient concerns to ensure action is taken in a timely and appropriate manner.’

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