Mum, 27, diagnosed with cancer after GP mistook symptoms as irritable bowel


Mum-of-one Estelle Wignall, 27, says NHS medics mistook her ovarian cancer symptoms for Irritable Bowel Syndrome. She claims she diagnosed the tumour herself after reading her symptoms on a pharmacy pamphlet

Estelle Wignall, 27, from Wigan, was initially diagnosed with IBS and sent home with antibiotics
Estelle Wignall, 27, from Wigan, was initially diagnosed with IBS and sent home with antibiotics

A mum claims she had to diagnose herself with ovarian cancer after being failed by the NHS when medics mistook her symptoms for IBS.

Receptionist and mum-of-one Estelle Wignall, 27 from Wigan, Manchester was 22 when she noticed her symptoms listed on a pharmacy leaflet.

She had previously visited her GP after becoming tired and bloated, but was told she had IBS and sent home with antibiotics.

After reading the leaflet, she pushed for tests and managed to get a diagnosis for grade one ovarian cancer three months later.

Surgeons removed a tumour, her right ovary, and her fallopian tube.

After the operation, she made a full recovery before starting a receptionist job and later marrying husband Mike, 26, in Texas in June 2019.

Surgeons removed Estelle’s right ovary and her fallopian tube

Doctors feared the surgery would leave Estelle unable to have children

Doctors feared she might be unable to conceive with the single ovary, but the couple had their first child, Brooke, in May 2020.

But seven months after her daughter’s birth, Estelle started showing the same symptoms she had when she was first diagnosed with cancer.

She missed several screenings due to the pandemic, but Estelle kept pushing for more tests.

In November 2020, she was diagnosed with cancer for the second time.

Her treatment started in January, but the tumour had spread to her liver and lungs, making it terminal.

Estelle believes the NHS failed her during the pandemic, and is not doing what it can to help her through her diagnosis.

“After I had my baby, I started an exercise regime and started to notice that I had the same symptoms as I had had before,” says Estelle.

The couple got hitched in Texas in 2019

“I had started the 12-week diet challenge, to get rid of my baby weight. I just needed to lose a stone, that was all.

“I started to feel very tired and I had no appetite. I thought it was all due to the diet but it got worse and I began to think cancer might be back.

“I called my GP up for an urgent scan and it came back positive and that it had spread to my lungs and liver as well.

Estelle said the pandemic has made her second diagnosis more difficult as she’s not allowed visitors

“My treatment started in January, I have had six rounds of chemo and two surgeries so far and have had the tumour in my lung removed.

“Unfortunately, because my treatment was delayed and my body is weak I developed an abscess and got a staph infection.

“I just spent two weeks in the hospital recovering from it and my treatment has been put on hold for now.

“I asked the doctors to refer me for a Guardant360 which essentially is a blood test that identifies what kind of cancer cells you have.

Seven months after her daughter’s birth, she started experiencing the cancer symptoms again

“From this, they can recommend the best kind of treatment for me individually, however, the NHS has denied me the help I need.

“I am raising the money to do the test privately through my GoFundMe page.

“I have been told I have two three years to live, but I refuse to accept that, I want to see my daughter grow up and at least have her remember me.

“I am feeling like because I am terminal and stage four the NHS has pretty much written me off.”

Estelle believes that her second cancer diagnosis is much more challenging than the first.

She said it’s harder this time because she has her daughter, and due to Covid restrictions forcing her to go through treatment alone, and without her husband and family.

Estelle is fundraising to raise money to go abroad for alternative treatments.

Their page has already raised £20,000 and Estelle plans to use it on low toxicity chemotherapy and immunotherapy treatments that are only available abroad.

“I have so much fight left in me and I want to try all my options at this point, I can’t imagine life without my family,” she said.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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