A mother from Reading in the United Kingdom said she had “zero symptoms” when she was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive type of cancer in her cervix.
Stacy Watkins, 38, tested positive for an incurable neuroendocrine tumor after doctors noticed something amiss during blood tests, Berkshire Live reported.
Watkins said: “I had zero symptoms. The only thing I had was I kept on being sick. My son had had a sick bug so at first, I thought it was that.”
She continued by explaining that she only went to the doctors to have blood tests so she could have treatment for lupus, which she’s had all her life, when they discovered her C-reactive protein (CRP) level was at 300.
“It should usually be at 3,” Watkins said. “So that’s when they started to investigate things. That’s when they found lesions on my liver and kidneys.”
Watkins’ best friend, Sarah Hill, has set up a GoFundMe page for the 38-year-old to help her access treatments that are not available at the U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS).
Hill wrote: “There are lots of alternative options for treatment but just for consultations you’re looking at anything between £250.00 to £450.00 [roughly $340 to $612] for half an hour.”
She added that the initial indications are that the treatment needed by Watkins will be in the region of £90,000 (around $122,500).
“Stacy has been given a few months to live but with treatment, we are hoping the prognosis will be improved,” she said.
The GoFundMe appeal has currently raised over $37,000 of its over $122,000 goal at time of writing. On the fundraiser, Hill explained that Watkins’ father is also currently suffering from an incurable form of cancer, and her partner is expected to undergo an operation to remove a tumor from the top of his spine.
What Are Neuroendocrine Tumors?
The Mayo Clinic defines neuroendocrine tumors as cancers that begin in specialized cells that are similar to both nerve and hormone-producing cells, called neuroendocrine cells.
This type of cancer is rare and can occur anywhere in the body. The tumors vary in the rate they grow with some progressing very quickly and others growing at a slower rate. While some of these tumors can release excess hormones, others either don’t release hormones at all, or don’t release enough to trigger symptoms.
When a neuroendocrine tumor sufferer does experience symptoms, these vary based upon the location of the tumor and can include: pain in the area of the tumor, a lump in a part of the body, nausea and vomiting, cough, jaundice, or bleeding and discharge.
On top of this could arise symptoms commonly associated with other cancers like fatigue, loss of appetite and weight loss.
Cancer.Net says that in the United States an estimated over 12,000 people per year are diagnosed with neuroendocrine tumors.
On the GoFundMe page, Watkins wrote: “Being told you have cancer is hard. Being given a prognosis is harder. I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, I’ve stared at a wall for hours in silence. Nothing changed, I still have cancer. I am determined to hit this with as much force as it needs.
“I know I’m going to have bad days, of course I am, but that’s normal. A positive attitude goes a long way and I am going to try my hardest to remain strong and positive through this whole process.”
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