Express & Star

Woman who had tumour the size of a melon removed after six months of pain urges others to seek help

A South Staffordshire woman who had a tumour the size of a melon removed from her body after six months of suffering is urging women not to assume any change in their bodies can be put down to the menopause.

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Sandra Benton described the staff at the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust (RWT) gynaecology department as “angels” for all the support and care they have given her following her ovarian cancer surgery.

Before her diagnosis, the 60-year-old said her pain and indigestion worsened, but she ignored these potential symptoms blaming the menopause and thinking her gut health might be to blame.

After six months of pain in her lower stomach, which she put down to a muscle pull due to having a lung condition, she said she now thanks her lucky stars that she sought medical advice.

Sandra, a travel agent from Cheslyn Hay, felt a small lump on her stomach and was instructed to go to the emergency department the same day by her GP.

The ultrasound scan showed a mass the size of a melon.

She said: "It didn’t take long from then before everything within my body changed.

"The tumour had grown so much that it had pushed my other organs around. I was very uncomfortable.

“I started to put on fluid around my stomach and within two days, I put on one stone and couldn’t move as there was 10 litres of fluid around my abdomen.”

Shortly afterwards, Sandra had a full hysterectomy and the tumour, and her appendix removed, with her weight dropping to seven stone in one week.

Originally planning to have six sessions of chemotherapy, she was only able to complete five due to being so weak.

She said: “My tumour was very large, but the cancer had been caught and removed early. I thank my lucky stars I did something about it.

“The gynaecology service at RWT are a group of angels who are so generous with their time and are amazing at their jobs.

"They provided proactive additional emotional support and throughout my journey Sandeep kept me from falling to pieces.”

Sandeep Gosall, gynaeoncology clinical nurse specialist, said: "Sandra is a great example of why we should listen to our bodies and act on any changes.

"Her cancer was caught early, and treatment has been successful.”

Due to being one of five sisters, Sandra carried out a genetic test to see if the ovarian cancer was in her family and said she was relieved to discover that isn’t the case.

As part of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, Sandra said she is hoping to raise awareness by sharing her story.

She said: “Do not think that a change in your body is because of age or the menopause.

“If you have any aches, pains or nagging stitch in your abdomen then please seek medical advice."