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Local News

Rotherham woman’s huge ‘bump’ diagnosed as pulled muscle was rare two-stone cancer tumour

today22/12/2021

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A woman was left needing a life-saving procedure after surgery to remove a cancerous tumour – first diagnosed as a ‘pulled muscle’ – went wrong.

Catherine Kilgallen, from Rotherham, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in June 2021, which left her with a two-stone mass in her tummy.

The cancer, retroperitoneal retro sarcoma – a rare cancerous tumour that grows in the abdomen – had originally been misdiagnosed by Catherine’s GP as a pulled muscle.

For more South Yorkshire news from YorkshireLive, click here.

But after treating the “bump”, which had left Catherine looking “obese” and noticing that it was not getting any better, Catherine, 64, insisted that her doctor send her for tests.

She told YorkshireLive: “One day I did have a very big tummy and was told I’d need to lose weight, but I’d gone on every diet I could go on and lost weight but never from my tummy area.

“But that didn’t ring alarm bells with any of the medics, they said I was obese and needed to lose weight; but I didn’t have fat arms or fat legs, just a fat tummy.

“One day I felt I’d pulled a muscle in my side, this was during Covid, so I rung my doctor and he agreed it sounded like a pulled muscle but over the weeks it got worse and more painful.”

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Luckily, Catherine was sent for hospital scans which revealed the extent of the mass growing inside her – a huge tumour weighing two stone.

Catherine had to undergo a gruelling surgery, which lasted for hours, to have the tumour removed and, during the surgery, she also had to have a kidney, an ovary, part of her stomach wall and part of her liver removed.

But, shortly after Catherine had come out of surgery and was recovering in the hospital ward, she had to be rushed back into theatre because she was haemorrhaging.

“They had to rush me back into theatre to find the bleed and they realised that they’d caught the bowel on the way out”, Catherine said.

This meant that – just hours after having her tumour removed – Catherine was once again undergoing a life-saving procedure; this time to fit a stoma, as her bowel could no longer work normally.

A stoma is an opening in the body which allows the removal of waste, often performed when the bowel or intensine is damaged.

But for Catherine, she was not given any time to prepare for this life-changing procedure – as there had not been anything wrong with her bowel when she went into hospital.

“I wasn’t expecting a stoma”, she said, “it was a shock to be told that I had one, but I’m grateful that it saved my life.”

Despite the mistake, Catherine said that she was not angry or upset to find out that the surgeon had caught her bowel, as she said that it had been a “massive operation”.

She added: “The surgeon was an absolute angel, he was such a gentleman and a kind man, so I wasn’t angry or cross and wasn’t thinking that people had been negligent.

“It was a massive operation and they had to take a lot of stuff, including muscle, to get clear margins and I’m waiting for further scans to see if it’s been successful.

“But, with it being a sarcoma, it is an unusual cancer and I’ve been told that there is a 30 to 70 per cent chance it could return, so I’ve got to get my head around that more than having the stoma – the stoma isn’t going to kill me, the cancer could do.”

Catherine, who had never needed to have any procedures in hospital before her surgery, said that she was just “quite grateful to wake up at all.”



Catherine has joined a group of women in raising awareness about stomas and the life-saving impact that they can have
Catherine has joined a group of women in raising awareness about stomas and the life-saving impact that they can have

And, though it has not been smooth sailing with getting used to the stoma, she is now part of a group of other women who are raising awareness about the importance of these lifesaving procedures.

She said: “The bottom line is that procedure saved my life because if it hadn’t occurred I’d have bled to death.

“I joined a social media support group and one of the girls in that support group was very new to the stoma, she’d only had it a couple of weeks, and she said that she thinks it is important to raise awareness.

“Even for me, I didn’t know going into hospital that I’d be coming out with a stoma, it can happen to anybody and at any time.”

Catherine has recently taken part in a photoshoot with some of the women from the support group – called the Stoma Squad – which has been inspired by Dove’s ‘Real Beauty’ campaign.

And the group are now raising money for the charity Colostomy UK, if you would like to donate you can do so here.

To get the latest email updates from Yorkshire Live, click here.

Written by: Rother Radio News


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today22/12/2021