Mum felt like she was having a heart attack prior to cancer diagnosis

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A mum-of-three was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive cancer after experiencing a range of symptoms. Jolene Segrave, 32, felt as if she was going to have a heart attack last October due to the symptoms she faced. She also experienced weight loss, intense itching, lumps on her skin and night sweats.

Jolene, from Bradford in West Yorkshire, said she began to feel very unwell roughly six months ago with a worrying array of symptoms.

However, she claims she had to fight to be seen by a doctor after failing to get an appointment with her surgery.

She said screen grabs from her phone prove she made hundreds of unsuccessful calls to her surgery, The Ridge Medical Practice, and once spent over 53 minutes on hold only to be cut off.

So in December, she registered her family with Bradford Student Health Services, where she was given an appointment and then referred via the Two Week Wait scheme.

When medics found two lumps on her neck, she was sent to a specialist at the Bradford Royal Infirmary and then for an ultrasound-guided biopsy.

But in January this year, she received the devastating news that she had Hodgkin lymphoma, a rare cancer that develops in the lymphatic system.

Jolene has since started chemotherapy for the disease – which was found in her neck, armpit, abdomen and bones – and has shaved off all her hair after it fell out following a nap.

She said: “This type of cancer is very aggressive. There are six cycles of escalation. I am okay but the chemotherapy does make you quite tired.

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“One day I fell asleep on the sofa and woke up with hair all over the cushions.

“I knew then it was time to cut it all off. I wanted to take control.”

Speaking about her symptoms, she said: “I thought I was going to have a heart attack. It is not something you expect to get when you are 32.

“I would tell people that if you have any lumps make sure they are checked out straight away. You might even have to change your GP like I did.”

The most common symptom of Hodgkin lymphoma is swelling in the neck, armpit or groin.

However, it can also cause:

  • Night sweats
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • A high temperature (fever)
  • A persistent cough or feeling of breathlessness
  • Persistent itching of the skin all over the body.

A spokesperson from The Ridge Medical Practice wished Jolene the best for her treatment but refused to confirm if she was a previous patient with them.

They said: “We are very sorry to hear that this lady has a diagnosis of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, that must be very upsetting for her and her family, and we hope that her treatment goes well and has positive outcomes for her.

“As we respect and take very seriously our obligations around confidentiality and information governance, we can neither confirm nor deny whether this lady has ever been on our patient list and we cannot respond specifically to the issues raised to us in this story.

“We always encourage patients to let us know as soon as they are experiencing any problems with our services as most of the time we can help them straight away and advise about ways of getting the best from our practice every time they need us.

“Our complaints procedures are clearly displayed on our website and in our surgeries and include advice about getting help in being supported by an advocacy team to ensure that patients have equitable access to giving us feedback about our practice.

“We constantly keep access to our services under review and strive to find ways of improving this.”

If you think you have Hodgkin lymphoma you should speak to your GP.

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