A Scots woman whose rare cancer was misdiagnosed for three years is desperately fundraising for further treatment abroad.
Laura Gilmore Anderson, who was born in Ireland but lives in Glasgow, has a rare type of cancer called Neuroendocrine.
The 34-year-old spent nearly three years having her health concerns dismissed by doctors after first experiencing getting stomach cramps in 2017.
Laura claims she repeatedly sought medical help for pain in her stomach and back but was told it was a ‘viral infection’.
The cancer, which started in her pancreas, has now spread during the years she was being misdiagnosed.
Laura told the Mirror: “I was in and out of the GP with lots of lower abdominal pain and lower back pain.
“When I had blood taken they would just say it was a viral infection, continuously, just say viral infection until I persisted and pushed.”
Laura and her husband, Paul Anderson, were also trying for a baby when she began experiencing health issues.
The 34-year-old initially feared there was ‘something wrong’ with her ovaries.
“I was always missing work and we were trying to conceive after we got married in 2018.
“You’re explaining that to the GP and I just thought there was something wrong with me, something related to ovaries or something like that. But they never investigated more early on”, she added.
Further investigations eventually revealed a swollen spleen in January 2020.
Laura, who had been suffering from ‘severe pain’, was told by doctors that she wouldn’t be treated as the swelling would reduce in time.
She said: “I was in and out of A&E during Covid, getting ultrasounds and loads of other scans.
“In January 2020 when I was at my worst healthwise, the pain was so severe, I got a scan, and on it, it showed I had a swollen spleen.
“They said to me there and then, you’re young, you’re fit, you’re healthy and it’ll go down in time.
“I went back in April, the easiest thing was to go back to A&E otherwise I was not being seen.”
When the global pandemic triggered a nationwide lockdown in the UK, Laura was left struggling to get answers as GP surgeries shifted primarily to virtual or phone call triages and appointments.
Doctors initially believed Laura may have endometriosis after looking into her ovaries and referred her to a fertility clinic.
But a CT scan in June 2021 revealed a small shadow that was given the devastating diagnosis.
Laura was told she had Neuroendocrine, a very rare form of pancreatic cancer, and had just three months to live.
Laura said: “I didn’t give up, I had to go back into A&E for a third time [in June] and had an ultrasound and met a radiologist and they saw a shadow on the scan and put me in for an MRI.
“That’s when then they called me into the GP and told me ‘you have a tumor in your pancreas, it looks like pancreatic cancer, you have three months to live’ and at this time I hadn’t seen any of my family in a while, and they were like ‘You need to go home to your family’.”
Laura underwent grueling chemotherapy but, instead of bringing the tumor down, her cancer spread to her lymph nodes.
With the help of her husband, the couple began looking for other treatments for her ‘incurable’ cancer.
After speaking to a neuroendocrine specialist from Manchester, she came across a clinic in Mexico that offered alternative treatments.
Fundraising over £50,000 to cover the cost of a three-week course at the clinic, Laura traveled abroad for the “non-toxic” medicine.
While in Mexico, Laura was told she’d need further treatment – which would cost even more.
The desperate 34-year-old, who returned to Glasgow for radiation therapy for her cancer, is now fundraising once again.
Laura needs to raise £120,000 to pay for a six-month course with the clinic once again.
She said: “Something’s working, I’m still alive. The specialist in Glasgow said something’s working but we don’t know what, they’re skeptical about the help the clinic offers.
“Every penny means so much for us, and it’s hope for the future.”
You can donate to Laura’s fundraiser here.