Woman's cancer 'not diagnosed despite 58 visits to doctors'


A woman who died from a cancer which went undiagnosed despite her making 58 visits to the doctors in just five months endured "excruciating pain", her husband told an inquest.

Jeanette Scully, 47, from Sunderland, developed a rare tumour in her uterus and by the time it was found, it had spread too far to operate.

After the diagnosis, she married her partner of 22 years while in hospital, and died in August.

She had been examined for abdominal pain since 2012, and suffered from severe pain in her back and leg.

She also experienced blood in her stool and lost between two and two-and-a-half stones from July 2014 to January 2015.

Mrs Scully had been referred to a gynaecologist and a colo-rectal specialist, an inquest at Sunderland Civic Centre has heard.

Her widower David told the hearing: "The pain she was going through was excruciating. She was literally screaming like a fan at a football match."

Mr Scully said she lost the weight because she only ate "tiny bits", because going to the toilet was so painful.

His wife went through a uterine ablation after being diagnosed with fibroids. She was left with a dull ache in the stomach, her husband said, and although GPs told her it would ease, "it turned out it never did".

A "mass" was detected but this was put down to being an infected fibroid and was treated with antibiotics.

Mr Scully said the couple sometimes discussed whether she might have cancer. "We just thought, she's had that many people looking at her, it cannot be cancer," he said.

A sarcoma of the womb was diagnosed last May.

"She had given up hope of anyone helping her, she felt as though nobody was listening," Mr Scully said.

He said she had 58 appointments with the doctors between January and the May when she was diagnosed, and that came after she insisted that the problem was not her fibroids.

"It's unbelievable someone can be going through that amount of pain, and still the only way it got found was because she pleaded," he said.

Dr Martin Weatherhead, in charge of the surgery where she was treated by several GPs, said when Mrs Scully was seen by his doctors, she was under the care of relevant specialists and had been seen by a gynaecologist and seen a colo-rectal surgeon.

Dr Johannes Dalhuijsen, another GP she saw, told the inquest: "She was seen by a variety of clinicians. I couldn't say she was being neglected at all. I couldn't say her symptoms were neglected. A lot of examinations were done that were appropriate."

The inquest continues.

Simon Steele, a consultant in obstetrics and gynaecology at Sunderland Royal Hospital, said Mrs Scully's form of cancer was very rare.

"I think I have personally seen a couple of cases of sarcoma in 20 years, one of which was Jeanette," he told the coroner.