Mother, 26, dies after being told her cancer symptoms were 'normal'

Mother, 26, dies after being told her cervical cancer symptoms were a ‘normal’ side effect of contraceptive injections

  •  Alexandra Hodson, 26, from Kirkham, Lancs, died after battling cervical cancer
  •  Told by nurse her ‘red flag’ symptoms were ‘normal’ due to her contraception
  •  Began radiotherapy and chemo in July 2018 but failed to respond to treatment

A ‘brave’ mother has died after being told her cervical cancer symptoms were a ‘normal’ side effect of her contraceptive injections.

Alexandra Hodson, 26, from Kirkham, Lancashire, was diagnosed with cervical cancer after attending the GP with a number of health problems.  

The 26-year-old had been experiencing key symptoms of the disease including pain during intercourse, bleeding in between periods and after sex but was told by a nurse that her symptoms were ‘normal’ due to the contraceptive injection.

It wasn’t until after her first smear test in June 2018 that a tumour was found in Alexandra’s cervix and she began receiving radiotherapy and chemotherapy. 

Alexandra Hodson, from Kirkham, Lancashire, has died after being diagnosed with cervical cancer in June 2018. The disease was spotted while she attended her first ever smear test. Pictured with her daughter Ella, nine

The mother-of-one was told by a nurse that her symptoms were ‘normal’ because of her contraceptive injections, despite her having the ‘red flag’ symptoms for cervical cancer

Alexandra, mother to nine-year-old daughter, Ella, began radiotherapy and chemotherapy in July 2018.  

In August 2019, Alexandra’s sister Nicola, from Preston, set up a fundraising page to get Alexandra immunotherapy but in April, her family were told it wasn’t working and that the cancer was terminal.

On August 8, Alexandra tragically died from her illness before her sister paid tribute to her on the GoFundMe page.

She said: ‘I never thought I’d be having to write an update like this and I wish I didn’t have to.

Sadly the tumour failed to respond to her treatment and her weight dropped to five stone in September 2019

Alexandra’s sister Nicola, 35, from Preston, (pictured right with Alexandra) paid tribute to her ‘brave’ sister and said she ‘fought to the very end’

‘We sadly lost my beautiful sister Saturday 8th August. She was so brave, strong and determined and she fought to the very end.

‘We had the news in April that the immunotherapy had not been working and that Alexandra’s cancer was terminal which is why we turned off donations on the page.

‘It was completely heartbreaking and due to Covid we knew it meant that we would struggle to make some of the memories we would have liked to and to fulfill some of Alexandra’s bucket list.

‘We still managed to make memories as a family and we spent as much time together as we could.’

Alexandra’s sister said the 26 year old felt ‘so guilty after that she didn’t question it further’

Nicola went on to thank those who had donated and supported her family through the difficult time.

She also went on to explain that the money raised would be split between Alexandra’s daughter Ella and to the charity Children with Cancer UK.

She said: ‘Just want to say a big heartfelt thank you to you all for your support, it meant so much to us how much people cared and it gave us an opportunity to try a treatment that could have been the one to save Alexandra, sadly it wasn’t meant to be.

‘The money we have leftover from treatment as previously mentioned will go to Ella Alexandra’s daughter, which will be put into a trust fund for when she’s older and 5% to the charity Children with Cancer UK.’

Speaking about her sister’s diagnosis late last year, Nicola said Alexandra had ‘all the red flags’ of cervical cancer.

‘She knew this wasn’t normal and she felt so guilty after that she didn’t question it further,’ Nicola said. 

A week after her first smear test Alexandra was informed there were abnormal cells and was sent to the Blackpool Victoria Hospital for a colposcopy.

Despite the pre-cancerous cells present, Alexandra was told to return in 12 months as the hospital felt it wasn’t urgent.

Concerned, she went back to her doctor who examined her and felt the tumour before referring her back to hospital straight away where an MRI scan confirmed her diagnosis.

A further scan showed the tumour was swollen and not responding to treatment, while the chemo and radiotherapy damaged Alexandra’s other organs.

She was sent to the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre on the Wirral to receive brachytherapy – where radioactive implants are used – and then travelled to London for further specialist treatment.

Despite the tumour shrinking a little, it then began to grow back. She was scheduled for an operation to remove her bowel and reproductive organs, but due to the tumour touching her pelvic wall it was deemed too dangerous and called.

In September Nicola said her sister’s taste buds had all gone and her pain was often so excrutiating that she couldn’t walk and relied on a wheelchair. 

What is cervical cancer? 

Cervical cancer affects the lining of the lower part of womb.

The most common symptom is unusual bleeding, such as between periods, during sex or after the menopause, but other signs can include:

  • Pain during sex
  • Vaginal discharge that smells 
  • Pain in the pelvis

Causes can include:

  • Age – more than half of sufferers are under 45
  • HPV infection – which affects most people at some point in their lives
  • Smoking – responsible for 21 per cent of cases
  • Contraceptive pill – linked to 10 per cent of cases
  • Having children
  • Family history of cervical or other types of cancer, like vagina

Source: Cancer Research UK 

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