Signs of cervical cancer by mum whose pregnancy symptom led to heart-shattering diagnosis

A mum has issued an urgent warning after her pregnancy symptom led to a heart-shattering diagnosis.

Scottish woman Nicola Cameron, 29, was in “agony” while she was expecting her baby girl, but she claims medics thought her symptoms were simply pregnancy-related.

Devastatingly, just five months after giving birth in January 2022, Nicola was diagnosed with stage three cervical cancer.

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Doctors had found a three-inch tumour on her cervix.

Nicola Cameron before her diagnosis in June 2019. Credit: Jam Press

“At first, when they told me it was cancer, I couldn’t take in the news – I was in shock,” Nicola told NeedToKnow.online.

“It was my worst fear realised. I thought I was going to die and never get to see my beautiful daughter, Blair, grow up and that she would have to go through her life without knowing her mum.

“The doctor started to explain things to me as best they could and I had to interrupt and say ‘sorry, did you say that you think this is definitely cancer?’

“And when she answered yes, that’s when I started crying.

“The next thing to go through my head was ‘oh God, how am I going to tell Gary (my partner) and my parents?’”

Nicola said she felt “mentally numb” after the shock diagnosis.

“It didn’t sink in until a couple of weeks after my diagnosis but when it did I cried every day for about two weeks,” she said.

“The smallest things would set me off as I was just so scared about the future and what was going to happen to me, and also my family if the worst outcome was to happen.”

Nicola Cameron undergoing treatment in hospital. Credit: Jam Press

Nicola had been experiencing some symptoms for almost a year and a half before her diagnosis including severe cramps, pain during sex, and bleeding.

She claims doctors originally diagnosed her with a cervical ectropion, which is when cells grow on the outside of the cervix, and that this had likely been caused by the contraceptive pill she was taking at the time.

Nicola stopped taking her birth control and got pregnant three weeks later.

Signs of cancer

Weeks after giving birth to her daughter, Blair, on 25th January 2022, the mum began to lose weight at an alarming rate.

Nicola said: “During those weeks, I was going to my doctors constantly with extreme back and lower abdomen pain, and I was initially being told that all the pain and bleeding was down to my emergency C-section and that it was my insides healing.

“I was having constant blood tests, being sent to the haematologist, getting a chest X-ray, and even called NHS 24 when I almost passed out with the pain at home.

“At one point I was on 32 tablets a day including antidepressants, as I was also diagnosed with post-natal depression.

“I noticed a massive weight loss as well, which was a big red flag to me.”

On 5 July 2022, “crying in pain”, she rushed to the hospital where doctors took a biopsy and two weeks later, she was given her heart-shattering diagnosis.

Nicola Cameron with her daughter Blair after starting chemo. Credit: Jam Press

Since then, the mum has undergone three gruelling rounds of chemotherapy and is due to start radiotherapy in October 2022, along with four rounds of brachytherapy.

The mum-of-one has a tough battle ahead but is trying her best not to think about her upcoming treatment.

As the treatment is still at an early stage, she has not yet been given a long-term prognosis by doctors, who are waiting to review new scans.

The physical and mental symptoms are taking a toll on Nicola, but she keeps fighting with the hope that she will get to see her daughter grow up.

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She said: “I won’t get to experience all the things I was looking forward to with her throughout my pregnancy.

“It also worries me that something could also happen to her when she’s older.

“What if she has a similar diagnosis when she’s a young woman or even later in life?

“I just want her to grow up to be happy and healthy, as every mother does.

“I’m also scared at the thought of getting better, then cancer reoccurring, and having to go through all this again when my daughter is older and will know more about what is going on.

“I’m just trying not to look too far into the future or think about my upcoming treatments too much, as it causes me a lot of anxiety and upset.

“Physically the pain is more managed, but I still have some bad days where it affects me enough to keep me in bed.

“I would just like to add to everyone out there that if you feel that something is not right with your body, please, please, please, push to find out what it is.

“Don’t let your pain or symptoms be pushed aside as you never know when it’s going to be too late for you.

“You deserve to be heard and looked after.

“Ladies, please go to your smear/pap appointments.”

With Emmie Norton

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