A mum says she was misdiagnosed three times before being told she had incurable cancer, having suffered from a ‘dull ache’ in her shoulder.
Jules Fielder, 37, was unable to see her doctor face-to-face last summer due to coronavirus restrictions, and was given exercises to treat her suspected ‘tennis elbow’.
In October, she noticed that she’d started making a ‘crackle’ noise when exhaling, but was led to believe there was nothing ‘sinister’ going on - claiming medics put this down to wearing masks.
During the same month, Fielder, who is from Hastings in East Sussex, spotted a ‘pea size’ lump in her neck, and was told it is likely to be a cyst or raise lymph node.
But she insisted on further tests, with a biopsy in November revealing that she had incurable lung cancer.
The school health assistant said: “I used my voice and requested further investigation - the biopsy of my presumed cyst showed double lung cancer.
"It has now spread to my spine and pelvis. I am frustrated about the misdiagnosis.
“It is horrible to know that diagnosis are being missed because of the pandemic.
“It’s sad that I had to fight for a face to face appointment and insist on further testing when the lump in my neck was being examined.”
Despite the sore shoulder, 3cm lump and ‘crackle’ noise, Fielder has still been feeling in good health.
She continued: “The crackle noise happens only when I exhale but other than that, I have been absolutely fine.
“I feel fit enough to run half a marathon. People assume lung cancer only happens to smokers over 50 but it doesn’t discriminate.
“I don’t smoke and I have no other symptoms. Lung cancer has many signs and it isn’t just coughing up blood.
“I don’t have breathing difficulties or any pain. I can’t stress enough how important it is to get checked.
“We need to check our bodies, anything abnormal or something that wasn’t there before.
“Don’t listen to your neighbour, go and see a doctor!”
Fielder now has to take a daily drug called Osimertinib, which is used if tests show the cancer cells have a mutation in a gene called epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR).
She said: “I am not eligible for surgery so I rely on a therapy drug which was released in 2015. It will give me years to live.
“All they can do is buy me time but I choose not to wallow in sadness.
“I am now an advocate for myself, I use my social media to encourage others to get checked.
“I want to be a role model to my son, Toby, 12, so I am being positive.
“Cancer isn’t an automatic death sentence anymore and in years to come there might be a break through.
“Unfortunately, I know how I am going to die but I want to make sure Toby can look at me for strength.”
LADbible has contacted East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust for a comment.Featured Image Credit: Mercury Press