A NSW mum has vowed to fight and see her two young daughters start their first day of school after being diagnosed with an unusual terminal cancer.
Lindsay Melbourne, who lives in Bonnet Bay in the Sutherland Shire with her husband Luke and their two daughters, aged 3 and 1, was diagnosed with pancreas Neuroendocrine Tumours (NETs) in August.
The 38-year-old speech therapist told Yahoo News Australia on Thursday she experienced little to no symptoms in the years prior – a horrifying trademark of NETs.
Ms Melbourne said she felt tired, but chalked it up to having two young children.
For a couple of months before the diagnosis she suffered from a persistent cough and night sweats, which had not gone away, she said.
During a regular visit with her GP, Ms Melbourne’s blood tests showed very abnormal results for her liver.
After additional tests, an ultrasound and CT scan, doctors broke the news that Stage 4 cancer may have been growing inside her for up to five years.
They found lesions throughout her liver and pancreas – too many to count, Ms Melbourne said.
“My pancreas is just full of cancer,” she said.
Despite undergoing chemotherapy and a specialised PRRT radiation treatment, the mum of two said her prognosis is “really poor”.
The cancer is spreading at a fairly rapid rate and Ms Melbourne said doctors have warned her that she might not be around to see her young daughters start school.
The 38-year-old has vowed to fight her best and has dreams of celebrating her daughter’s upcoming second birthday and her 40th next year.
She noted how thankful she was to have the support of her family and community.
‘This cancer needs to be taken seriously’
Ms Melbourne has begun raising awareness for NETs, working with NeuroEndocrine Cancer Australia.
NETs can be curable is found earlier, the mum said, however because people don’t often experience symptoms or they go misdiagnosed, the average diagnoses doesn’t occur for five to seven years.
Sixty to eighty per cent of patients are diagnosed at an advanced stage.
“The only way that people can know about it is to increase its awareness – this cancer needs to be taken seriously,” she said.
“If we recognise it earlier it can be curable, but unfortunately mine is beyond that.”
“NETs can occur throughout the body in different organs, however, are usually found in the pancreas, stomach, bowel, and lungs,” NeuroEndocrine Cancer Australia said in press release.
“NETs are formed from changes in the neuroendocrine cells found in your endocrine system, a system that regulates your body through hormones.”
The cancer, which effects all ages and genders, is poorly understood and the awareness is low, the organisation said.
Symptoms are often misdiagnosed with conditions such as anxiety, menopause, Irritable Bowl Syndrome or diabetes.
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.