Young mum's tearful plea after doctors 'brush her off' for a year

Milly Mitchell, who moved to Australia for a 'new beginning' with her son, 4, and partner, is now fighting to stay alive.

Sitting alone in a “little hospital cubicle” in Adelaide, Milly Mitchell’s eyes anxiously glance around the sterile room, trying to fend off her fears.

“The doctor was gone for about 20 minutes and when she came back she broke the news to me and I just bawled my eyes out,” the 27-year-old mum, who moved from New Zealand to South Australia three years ago to be closer to her parents, tearfully told Yahoo News on Tuesday about the moment she realised she had cervical cancer.

“It’s just hard. It’s hard because now I’m stage four and I’m being put on palliative care. I just don’t know what to expect. I’ve got a four-year-old son. It’s not my time to go yet.

“If my doctors were on to it and actually really listened, I don’t think I would have gotten this far.”

Left, Milly Mitchell who has stage 4 cancer after being dismissed by doctors with her son. Right, Milly with her partner Declan in Adelaide.
Milly Mitchell said doctors 'brushed off' her cancer symptoms for a year. Source: Supplied

Mum, 27, dismissed by several doctors

Milly and her son, George, relocated to Australia in July, 2021 with her partner joining them the following year so the family could embark on a “new beginning”. However, just months later she began suffering extremely heavy periods, unintentional weight loss and constant fatigue.

“Even if I got a full eight hours of sleep I would be drained the next day,” she said. The mum said she saw five different GPs in an attempt to find out what was going on, but “just kept getting brushed off”.

“One of them was female and she actually told me that what I’m experiencing is completely normal for someone who has endometriosis, and she gave me a hormonal pill to stop prolonged periods, but at that time I’d had my period for four months,” Milly said.

The last doctor she visited sent her to a $300 kidney specialist appointment. “So I took it upon myself to advocate for myself and dropped myself off at the hospital, and that’s when I found out that I had stage three cervical cancer,” she said.

Despite previously being dismissed because she’s “too young for cancer”, a year after she first sought help doctors found a “fast and aggressive” eight-centimetre tumour. The disease had also spread to her pelvic lymph nodes.

Left, Milly with George and Declan in front of a Christmas tree. Right, Milly holds George in the ocean.
Milly Mitchell, 27, believes her cancer would never have 'gotten this far' if people had 'really listened' to her concerns. Source: Supplied

Cancer diagnosis now stage four

The 27-year-old immediately underwent six blood transfusions and began “radiotherapy”, which she described as “being microwaved for 15 minutes every day”, and weekly four-hour chemotherapy sessions.

She was also treated with internal radiation to “blast the tumour”, but was therefore sent into early menopause. Although aware there was a 70 per cent chance of the cancer returning, the young family looked to the future and last year moved into their own home.

Excited to catch up on where they had left off before her diagnosis, life was starting to look sunny again, Milly said. Tragically everything came to a halt two weeks ago.

“So unfortunately, it’s in my lungs and in my spine now. When the cancer spread to my pelvic lymph nodes, the lymph nodes spread it into different parts of my body and they weren’t able to see that at the time,” she explained.

The mum will now undergo radiation to her chest and spine and stronger chemotherapy in a desperate bid to keep her alive.

“But if my body doesn’t take to this treatment, then unfortunately I’ll get the bad news of how long I’ll have, so we just have our fingers and toes crossed that this treatment works,” she told Yahoo as her voice cracked.

Milly Mitchell and her son George in front of a brick home.
Following her second diagnosis, the mum will undergo radiation to her chest and spine in a desperate bid to keep her alive. Source: Supplied

Cancer can strike at any age, mum urges

Unable to work, and relying on one income, Milly recently created a GoFundMe to help the family stay in their rental home and keep her son in daycare so he still has some “normalcy”.

She also hopes to raise awareness that cancer doesn’t abide by an age limit and can take “anyone, any time”.

Over the past 30 years, a rise in the number of people under the age of 50 being diagnosed with cancer has been well documented by researchers.

Last month, oncologist Ranjana Srivastava confirmed to the ABC she had seen an increase in the number of patients aged in their 30s and 40s who were “coming in with often aggressive diseases”.

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