A mum has claimed she was sent home from A&E with antibiotics for a cough - only to be later diagnosed with lung cancer after the doctor "misread the scan".
Victoria Powers received the news that her cancer had returned just weeks after she celebrated being five years free of the disease.
The 34-year-old, who is from Great Wyrley, was first diagnosed with breast cancer back in 2017 after she found rice-sized lumps.
She underwent chemotherapy, radiotherapy and a double mastectomy and was given the all-clear on December 23 of that year.
But five years on, the mum-of-one developed a cough late last year which she couldn't shift.And a trip to New Cross Hospital A&E in Wolverhampton on New Year's Eve resulted in her being given antibiotics after a CT scan was described as "clear" by a doctor, she claims.
But the mum claims a scheduled appointment with her breast surgeon a few days later showed shadows across her lungs and liver.
Further tests then confirmed the news the cancer had returned and was now in her lungs, liver, lymph nodes and bones.
Speaking about her initial symptoms, Victoria said: "My grandad passed away at the start of December and I had a bit of a cough. I rang the GP who gave me antibiotics over the phone two days before Christmas.
"It didn't clear so I rang them back but I couldn't get an appointment as it was the week between Christmas and New Year's Eve. I was out with friends when I got a pain in my side alongside the cough so they took me to A&E.
"It was 10pm at night and there were 172 people waiting to be seen so I said I didn't want to stay, I didn't feel like I needed to. A lady told us to come back the following morning when it was quieter.
"On New Year's Eve, me and my mum went back and I told them the issue and was told I had a high pulse rate and low oxygen so they wanted me to stay.
"I had an ECG, a chest X-ray and a CT scan, which I think was looking for a blood clot but I do flag up as an oncology patient as soon as I go into hospital."
The mum, who tested positive for the BRCA2 'cancer gene' back in 2017, continued: "A doctor then told me that the CT scan was clear and I was sent home with some antibiotics. I had a routine appointment with my breast surgeon and he asked how I'd been.
"I told him what happened and he said that he'd check it all for me. Because it was my five-year check, I would have been discharged if he didn't find any issues.
"He went off and came in and told me that the CT scan I had on New Year's Eve in A&E wasn't clear and there were shadows on my lungs and liver.
"For them to have missed it when I flagged as an oncology patient, you think they would have noticed something on the lungs."
Tests including an ultrasound, biopsy, CT scan and bone imaging scan confirmed that Victoria had cancer across her body. As there is a risk the cancer may compress her spinal cord, she also went for an MRI scan.
She said: "Your risk of cancer returning is supposed to reduce as the years go on and I rang the bell to show five years clear in December 2022. And then a few weeks later I was slapped in the face after finding out it was back and had spread.
"I deteriorated in January when I was waiting for biopsy results and got weaker and weaker."
Victoria has undergone three cycles of chemotherapy so far. Her eight-year-old son, Jacob, even helped to shave her head before the treatment.
Victoria said: "Jacob knows that I'm poorly but he doesn't know the extent of it. He helped my mum shave my head because that's a visible side to it so I wanted it explained to him.
"I have a line for my treatment, which he sees and he knows what it does. But as for the actual cancer, I don't talk about it in front of him."
Victoria added: "My breast surgeon and oncologist are amazing and I couldn't knock them or any of the care I've had from them but it is just the A&E side of it."
Her friend Jamie-Ann Edwards, 44, is now planning on completing the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge alongside friends Sarah Arnott, Jo Edwards and Gemma Williamson.
They have decided to raise money for Victoria through this and their GoFundMe page has already raised over £4,000.
Jamie-Ann said: "We like to keep ourselves busy. Jo is 40 this year and on her list of 40 things to do before 40 was to do the three peaks challenge.
"I don't think we quite expected the response we have had - it is amazing."
Victoria added: "I can't believe how much it has gone up to, it is overwhelming. You just live your life and try to do your best and I never would have expected to do this kind of thing and the response from it is amazing.
"I'm so grateful to those who have donated and shared it."
Dr Brian McKaig, Chief Medical Officer at The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, said: "We appreciate this is a difficult time for Ms Powers and would urge her to contact our Patient Experience Team so that we can look into her case and support her appropriately."
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