I was embarrassed when I found a lump down there – now I'm fighting for my life | The Sun

WHEN mum-of-two Kathy Morse found a lump, she knew she had to put embarrassment aside.

It had been on her vaginal area and while it wasn't painful, she knew she had to get it checked out.

Now, the 52-year-old is fighting for her life after being diagnosed with stage three vaginal cancer.

Kathy first started to experience dizzy spells when she sat down and went for blood tests to check everything was ok.

Initially, the tests ruled out anything serious, but after finding the lump, she booked in with her GP.

Kathy, from Walkden, Manchester, said if she hadn't gone to the doctor in December 2020 when she first discovered the issue, she wouldn't be here today.

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Speaking to the Manchester Evening News she said: "If I didn't go through those 15 minutes of embarrassment with my doctor I might not be having this conversation now.

"I just started to feel really dizzy when I was sitting down. When I stood up I felt absolutely fine. I went to the doctors and my blood pressure was fine, they ruled out everything with blood tests.

"I never felt ill. Then I felt a lump in that area. It wasn't painful and I just thought it was a cyst that would need removing so I booked to see my doctor.”

Vaginal cancer is rare and affects around 250 women in the UK each year.

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In 70 per cent of cases, women diagnosed are over the age of 60, with the illness being rare in women under the age of 40.

Last January, she had to have a seven hour procedure to remove a 2.5cm tumour and also had to have part of her vagina reconstructed.

As well as this she had to have intense chemotherapy and radiotherapy, after it was revealed the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes.

Kathy said that the majority of people she has spoken to have never heard of the illness.

She added that she had been surprised at the diagnosis, as 15 years ago she had a full hysterectomy.

Because of this, she thought there had been less chance of illness developing in that region.

What are the signs of vaginal cancer you need to know?

The NHS states that you should see your GP if you experience any of the following symptoms.

  • a lump in the vagina
  • ulcers and skin changes around the vagina
  • bleeding from the vagina after menopause
  • bleeding after sex
  • pain during sex
  • smelly or blood-stained discharge
  • bleeding between periods
  • an itch in your vagina that won't go away
  • pain when you pee

Following her ordeal, she is now urging others to see their GP if they are concerned.

She questioned what would have happened if she had been too embarrassed to see her GP and said if she can help just one person, then that is enough.

Kathy said that it 'makes her angry' when people have these lumps and they don't get them checked out.

While she said cancer can be isolating, she explained that it's not something you should be embarrassed about.

She hailed Sun columnist, the late Dame Deborah James for raising awareness of cancer, and said she now wants to do the same.

This month is gynaecological cancer awareness month and Kathy is taking the opportunity to spread the word on vaginal cancer.

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Kathy said she is now campaigning for pelvic checks to also be offered alongside smear tests which are offered to women between 25 and 64 every 5 years.

She has now completed her treatment and has to go for regular checks at the hospital, as well as taking regular medication for the never damage she has been left with.

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