A WOMAN went through gruelling cancer treatment for two years before being told she had been misdiagnosed.
Megan Royle's world turned upside down when doctors informed her she had the disease – and then again when they told her they'd made a horrible mistake.
The 32-year-old had gone to the lengths of having her eggs frozen after immunotherapy – a fertility affecting treatment.
Her job as a theatre make-up artist was put on hold throughout nine cycles of skin cancer treatment after being diagnosed in 2019 at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital.
It wasn't until 2021, when another NHS trust reviewed her records after a house move up north, the shocking mistake was discovered.
Megan, from East Yorkshire, said: "You just can't really believe something like this can happen, and still to this day I've not had an explanation as to how and why it happened.
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"I spent two years believing I had cancer, went through all the treatment and then was told there had been no cancer at all.
"When the doctors sat me down and told me it took a while to sink in.
"You'd think the immediate emotion would be relief, and in some sense it was, but I'd say the greater emotions were frustration and anger."
Megan explained when she was first delivered the crushing blow of a cancer diagnosis, one of her first questions was if treatment would affect her fertility.
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"I wasn't thinking about having children at that time, but having children was always something I planned for later in life, so having eggs preserved was something I didn't hesitate doing," Megan said.
She added: "However, then to be told two years later, having undergone the treatment and lived with the worry, I found being told I'd never had cancer at all hard.
"I wasn't in a good place for quite some time to be honest, strange as that may seem."
Megan had originally gone to Chelsea & Westminster Hospital after a GP referred her for a mole on her arm that displayed concerning symptoms.
After a biopsy was carried out she was told melanoma had been identified.
The Royal Marsden Hospital then conducted a further biopsy and agreed with the first analysis.
Megan went under the knife for a 2cm wide excision of tissue to remove what was believed to be the "cancer".
Then she started Immunotherapy treatment, and completed nine cycles, at the same time as having her eggs preserved.
By May 2021, she was told the cancer had been eliminated and she moved north elsewhere in the country.
It was then that a different hospital trust looked at her files and informed her there had been an error.
I spent two years believing I had cancer, went through all the treatment and then was told there had been no cancer at all."
Megan sought help from medical negligence specialists, Hudgell Solicitors, who won an out of court settlement with the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.
Associate Solicitor Matthew Gascoyne said: "This was obviously a quite unusual case in that Megan was mistakenly diagnosed with skin cancer, something which obviously had a significant psychological impact upon her given her young age.
"This was exacerbated by her needing surgery, and being advised that the only treatment she could have may impact upon her fertility.
"She suffered from sickness throughout her treatment, so it was a difficult time for her.
"Finally, the psychological impact was worsened by being given the news that she'd not had cancer at all.
"All of this was entirely avoidable.
"It was only when her post treatment care was transferred to another Trust that this was discovered.
You'd think the immediate emotion would be relief, and in some sense it was, but I'd say the greater emotions were frustration and anger."
"Had she not moved, she may well now still be in a situation where she was believing she was in remission and that the cancer could return."
A spokesperson from The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust said: "We wish to offer our sincere apologies to Megan Royle for the distress caused by her experience at our trust and we are pleased that a settlement has been agreed."
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A spokesperson for North West London Pathology, a joint partnership hosted by Imperial College NHS Trust, said: "We are deeply sorry for the distress caused to Ms Royle and apologise unreservedly for the error made.
"While no settlement will make up for the impact this has had, we are pleased an agreement has been reached."
Signs of melanoma
The most common sign of melanoma is the appearance of a new mole or a change in an existing mole.
- Mole with a mix of colours
- Large mole
- Mole that changes over time
- Swollen mole
- Bleeding mole
- Itchy mole
- Crusty mole
- Mole in the shape of a line under a nail
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