A woman who sat for a routine eye exam at Specsavers was immediately rushed to hospital after an optometrist spotted a rare form of cancer.
Elaine Maltby, 54, is a regular at her eye exams due to a history of glaucoma in her family, but the grandmother had never had any issues with her sight until she was told at an appointment with Specsavers “something wasn’t right”.
Days later she was diagnosed with uveal melanoma, a form of eye cancer which couldn’t be treated as the tumour was “too large and aggressive”.
Ms Maltby, from North Ayrshire in Scotland, had surgery to remove her left eye in 2017 and continued with check ups every six months, each time the results came back clear.
In November 2019 however Ms Maltby’s family said their “worst nightmare was confirmed”.
The cancer had returned, this time in the liver and treatment options offered little chance of success.
“The liver showed small lesions which were cancerous and inoperable and with that came the news that there were very limited treatment options in Scotland for her type of cancer,” her family wrote on a GoFundMe page set up last week to assist with medical costs.
“She was offered a treatment which is mainly used for Cutaneous (skin) Melanoma, immunotherapy. There was less than a 10 per cent chance of it working ... and unfortunately it didn't work.”
The treatments hadn’t been successful in shrinking the tumour.
‘One last hope for our mum’
“There is one last hope for our mum, Chemo-saturation Therapy (Delcath), unfortunately unavailable on the NHS in Scotland, however, it is available privately at the Spire in Southampton,” Ms Maltby’s family wrote.
With a 40 to 60 per cent success rate, the family have pinned their hopes on the treatment saving their mother and have turned to the internet to help fund the costly medical treatment.
“Our family are trying everything they can to help raise funds desperately needed for mum to receive this treatment, but at £40,000 (A$70,000) per session and with six treatments usually needed to complete the course, it is very much out of our reach,” the family explained.
Ms Maltby’s family believes she has a strong chance to beat the rare cancer and said it’s “unfair” that there is a treatment available but only to the “extremely well off”.
“She is otherwise fit, healthy, her liver is in excellent condition and of course she is only 54-years-old,” her family said.
“She desperately wishes to see her youngest daughter get married in spring and watch her three adorable grandchildren grow. It is so unfair that there is a treatment out there but unless you are extremely well off it is unavailable to most people suffering with this disease.”
The family have currently raised more than £44,000 (A$76,000) of their £240,000 (A$419,000) goal.
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