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Woman who underwent surgery and froze eggs in ‘complete shock’ after being wrongly diagnosed with cancer | UK News

today18/10/2023

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A woman was left in “complete shock” after living with cancer for two years only to learn she had been wrongly diagnosed.

Megan Royle was misdiagnosed with skin cancer in 2019.

The theatrical make-up artist from East Yorkshire underwent nine cycles of treatment, endured surgery and froze her eggs before the error in the diagnosis was discovered.

She first reported that a mole on her upper arm had increased in size, become itchy and scabbed, so she was referred for a dermatology review at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital by her GP in 2019.

A biopsy was carried out and reviewed and Ms Royle, then aged 29, was told melanoma – a type of skin cancer – had been identified.

After the detection, she was referred to the specialist cancer unit at the Royal Marsden Hospital. Her biopsy was reviewed and, again, melanoma was confirmed.

She proceeded with surgery – a 2cm wide excision of tissue to remove what was thought to be the cancer.

Megan Royle's arms after surgeons operated, believing she had skin cancer
Image:
Ms Royle’s arms after surgeons operated, believing she had skin cancer

She also underwent egg freezing – a method of preserving a woman’s fertility to have children at a later stage – as she was told immunotherapy treatment she received could affect her fertility.

She had nine treatment cycles up to May 2021, and after being told there was no sign of the disease, she moved up north as the COVID lockdown had impacted her theatre career.

It was only then a new hospital trust reviewed her records and scans, pointing out the error in her diagnosis.

The 33-year-old took her case to Hudgell Solicitors, which specialises in medical negligence, and won an out of court settlement with the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the pathology service used by Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.

Frustration and anger’

Ms Royle said she felt “complete shock” after the news was revealed and confessed she hadn’t “been in a good place for some time” afterwards.

She said: “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 Royle who underwent two years of cancer treatment, only to find she had been misdiagnosed and never had the disease
Image:
‘I’d say the greater emotions were frustration and anger’ Ms Royle said.

Ms Royle said she wasn’t thinking about having children at the time, but it was something she “planned for later in life” so freezing her eggs was a choice she “didn’t hesitate doing”.

Read more on Sky News:
Patient declared ‘dead’ wakes up in hospital
Most people can’t identify some symptoms of breast cancer

‘Significant psychological impact’

Associate solicitor Matthew Gascoyne said: “Megan was mistakenly diagnosed with skin cancer, something which obviously had a significant psychological impact upon her given her young age.”

He said Ms Royle “suffered from sickness” during her treatment and the psychological impact on her was “worsened” after the misdiagnosis was confirmed.

A spokesperson from The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust told Sky News: “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.”

A spokesperson for North West London Pathology, a joint pathology partnership of three NHS trusts including Imperial College Healthcare NHS Foundation 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.”



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