Woman, 27, Dies of Cancer a Day After Diagnosis: 'Shocking and Traumatic'

The case of a 27-year-old woman, who died a day after being diagnosed with cervical cancer and after claiming she wasn't listened to by doctors, has been described as "shocking and traumatic" by a coroner.

Porsche McGregor-Sims, an events manager from the U.K. city of Portsmouth, died at Queen Alexandra Hospital on April 14, 2020, a day after being diagnosed with stage 4 cervical cancer, Hampshire Live reported. Prior to her diagnosis she had suffered from abdominal pain and bleeding for 15 months.

Area coroner Rosamund Rhodes-Kemp told an inquest into her death that the case was one of the most "shocking and traumatic" she had dealt with, according to Hampshire Live.

Rhodes-Kemp said: "We see hundreds and hundreds of cases every year—and I have done about 6,000 inquests—but this one is particularly sad."

The inquest found that McGregor-Sims died of natural causes.

McGregor-Sims' family doctor referred her to a specialist after she complained of abdominal pain and vaginal bleeding in December 2019.

In January 2020, McGregor-Sims saw gynecology consultant Dr. Peter Schlesinger, who decided not to examine her. He told the inquest that he thought she was experiencing symptoms from hormonal contraception, endometriosis, or irritable bowel syndrome.

Schlesinger said it was "very rare" for someone to experience symptoms of aggressive cancer after having a recent negative smear test and ultrasound, as McGregor-Sims had.

Queen Alexandra Hospital  McGregor Sims
Queen Alexandra Hospital, where McGregor Sims died, pictured on December 31, 2020, in Portsmouth, U.K. Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images

Dr. Dirk Brinkmann, a gynecological cancer surgeon who briefly saw McGregor-Sims before her death, told the inquest that in the best-case scenario she would have had a 70 percent chance of living for a further 24 months had she been diagnosed at Schlesinger's appointment 11 weeks earlier.

The family said in a statement read in court that it was not in McGregor-Sims' character to complain, but she felt she was "not listened to," according to BBC News.

Her mother Fiona Hawke is now calling for the age that women are offered cervical cancer screening to be dropped to 16.

"We need to understand that this is a disease that can affect young women of any age," she told ITV .

In the U.K., an HPV test—where cervical samples are tested for the human papillomavirus virus (HPV) that can cause cervical cancer—is available for people with a cervix aged 25 to 49 every three years, and every five years for those aged 50 to 64 years old.

In the U.S., the CDC recommends Pap tests, or smears, which look for precancerous cells, from the age of 21. Those aged 30 to 65 are advised talk to their doctor about getting a Pap test or HPV test, or a combination of the two. A doctor may advise those over 65 to no longer get screened if they have had a normal result for several years, or had their cervix removed.

woman stomach pain cramps
A stock image shows a woman holding her stomach. Porsche McGregor-Sims' family doctor referred her to a specialist after she complained of abdominal pain and vaginal bleeding in December 2019. Getty Images

Newsweek has contacted Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust for comment from Schlesinger and Brinkmann.

Liz Rix, chief nurse at Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust, told Newsweek in a statement: "On behalf of Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust, I would like to express our condolences to the family of Porsche McGregor-Sims.

"When we were aware of concerns around her care, we immediately investigated these and ensured we learnt from the experience of Porsche and her loved ones'.

"I would like to reassure patients that their safety is of utmost importance to us and should they have any concerns or questions regarding their care, encourage them to raise these with the team caring for them. Our thoughts are with Porsche's family at this difficult time."

This article has been updated with comment from Liz Rix.