‘I hadn’t been feeling ill’: Woman hit by cancer shares her first and only symptom
Being able to identify cancer symptoms promptly can mean the difference between catching the condition at an early stage and letting the culprit spread through your body. Worryingly, the deadly condition doesn’t always make itself obvious with a myriad of symptoms. This is exactly what happened to Mo Squires who only experienced one warning sign.
Menopause is characterised by a drop in hormone levels that causes your periods to stop.
Having gone through this change 10 years ago, Ms Squires was suspicious of an unexpected bleed she experienced.
According to the Mayo Clinic, vaginal bleeding like this is a tell-tale sign of endometrial cancer.
And that’s exactly the diagnosis Ms Squires received, despite not feeling ill at all.
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She had a three-day post-menopausal bleed in July which she reported quickly to her GP surgery.
Her doctor acted promptly and referred her to the rapid gynaecology assessment unit.
Two biopsies later, the founder of Swindon’s only all female big band, The Swing Birds, was diagnosed with endometrial cancer, better known as cancer of the womb.
This condition represents the fourth most common cancer in women in the UK, with more than 9,700 people being diagnosed with it each year.
Ms Squires told BBC: “I hadn’t been feeling ill. In fact, I was feeling very well and to this day, I’m still feeling very well so it’s all a little bizarre.”
The former project manager shared that her pragmatic approach was a gift in dealing with the diagnosis.
“It was just another project with a series of tasks and we tick them off as we go,” she added.
Following her diagnosis, Ms Squires decided to have a full hysterectomy, which describes a surgical procedure used to remove the womb.
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Fortunately, her prognosis is good and she is set to finish radiotherapy by Christmas.
Ms Squires added: “I actually think I’m in a dream and I’m going to wake up and people are going to say that never happened because I didn’t feel ill.
“I still don’t feel ill and yet I clearly was, so it’s all a bit surreal. I’m forever grateful to my GP and everybody I’ve met … my experience [treatment] has been world class.”
While she didn’t suffer from any other symptoms other than the bleed, endometrial cancer is linked to some red flag signs.
According to the NHS, the key symptoms to be aware of include:
- Bleeding or spotting from the vagina after the menopause
- Heavy periods from your vagina that is unusual for you
- Vaginal bleeding between your periods
- Change to your vaginal discharge
- Lump or swelling in your tummy or between your hip bones (pelvis)
- Pain in your lower back or between your hip bones (pelvis)
- Pain during sex
- Blood in your pee.
While these symptoms are “common” and don’t necessarily guarantee you have womb cancer, it’s “important” to get them checked by a GP, according to the health service.
It adds: “Do not wait to contact a GP. This is because if they’re caused by cancer, finding it early can mean it’s easier to treat.”
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