Young woman dying of cancer urged others to see a GP if they felt unwell

A young woman who was sent away by doctors more than 10 times before her cancer was diagnosed wrote a message in her journal before she died, urging others to see a GP.

Dhneep Bains, known as Neepy, died aged 26 in July this year after she was diagnosed with stage 4 Ewing sarcoma of the pelvis and a secondary growth on the lung.

Neepy, of Rowhedge near Colchester in Essex, wrote in her journal before she died: “One piece of advice I can guarantee particularly the ages between 35 and under – if you feel weird in any shape or form, body feels different, continuous pain or even if it’s a one off – GO TO YOUR DOCTOR!!!!!!!

“No matter how little or small your problem you make sure you get your arse down there and keep going if they send you packing.”

Her mother, Ram Waltho-Brar, said Neepy asked her to share her story and said her daughter told her: “I don’t want anybody else to suffer like I’ve had to suffer.”

Dhneep Bains
Neepy’s story is part of a Teenage Cancer Trust campaign (Family handout/PA)

She is sharing her daughter’s story as part of Teenage Cancer Trust’s #BestToCheck campaign.

The campaign calls on doctors to make referrals at the earliest opportunity, even when they have lower levels of suspicion.

The campaign also reminds young people of the common signs and symptoms of cancer and, despite the pressure coronavirus has placed on the NHS, urges them to contact their GP at the earliest opportunity.

Ms Waltho-Brar said: “For me it’s important to get this awareness out there for her sake, for her memory’s sake as well, and for everybody else actually too.

“Everybody should be given that chance of early diagnosis.”

She said doctors told her that Neepy would have had better treatment options and would have lived longer if she had been diagnosed at an earlier stage.

Aspiring hairdresser Neepy first went to see a doctor about pain in her foot in March 2017.

Her mother said Neepy went back several times but did not see the same doctor each time, due to a system of rotation at the surgery.

Dhneep Bains
Neepy was described as ‘kind-hearted and bubbly’ (Family handout/PA)

She said Neepy was recommended to ride a bike, do stretches and yoga.

Ms Waltho-Brar said that by April 2018 Neepy was crying in pain and dragging her leg.

She said she took her to A&E and was first sent away with painkillers, before Neepy had a scan on a further visit, when her mother demanded it.

She was admitted to hospital and diagnosed with cancer, undergoing 26 rounds of chemotherapy, starting in May 2018, and six to eight weeks of radiotherapy, alongside gruelling side-effects.

“Parents shouldn’t have to lose their child at such an early age,” said Ms Waltho-Brar.

She said: “Neepy was very kind-hearted, bubbly, she was fun to be around and she had a great sense of humour, always joking, smiling, no matter what.”

Dr Louise Soanes, director of services at Teenage Cancer Trust, said: “Cancer is thankfully rare in teenagers and young adults, accounting for just 1% of all cancer diagnosis.

“However, because cancer is less common in this age group, they often have to visit their doctor numerous times before they get a diagnosis.

“The status quo cannot remain and we each have a part to play when it comes to changing that.”

Teenage Cancer Trust is urging all young people to look out for lumps, bumps or swellings, unexplained tiredness, mole changes, persistent pain or significant weight change.

See www.teenagecancertrust.org/signs

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