Pregnant woman’s suspected chest infection turned out to be ‘horrific’ disease

Lung cancer: Dr Amir describes the symptoms in February

When mum-to-be Hannah Williams began struggling to climb stairs it was thought she had a chest infection.

The regular gym-goer, who doesn’t smoke, said she was left unable to breathe by the simple activity.

But just months after learning she was pregnant the 29-year-old was given the devastating news she actually had stage three cancer.

Hannah initially went to Liverpool A&E after experiencing “minor” chest pain where she underwent an X-ray and was told she had pneumonia.

The eyelash technician and business owner told the Liverpool Echo:”I was really struggling to breathe just doing general daily tasks.

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“As I live in a top floor apartment, I could barely get halfway up the stairs.

“I went to my GP, he listened to my chest, and said chest infection.

“Two days later I went to the walk-in centre, who prescribed me a blue inhaler and five days of Amoxicillin. After a further three days I was back in A&E.

“I had another chest X-ray – again, pneumonia.

“After waiting over 15 hours, pregnant, with no food or drink and no sleep for 30 hours, I did discharge myself as I was exhausted.”

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After returning home she had some missed calls and voicemail messages asking her to return to hospital for treatment.

“Eventually I had a CT scan, which confirmed a mass on my left lung which had grown so much in three weeks they knew it was serious,” Hannah said.

She underwent a procedure to remove more than 4.5 litres of fluid from her left lung through a tube, which remains in her chest.

Hannah was given the option to terminate her pregnancy due to the potential side effects of chemotherapy.

Hannah said: “I’m a positive person, and I believe everything does happen for a reason.

“I am strong enough, young enough and fit enough to fight this. With being pregnant, it makes everything escalate quicker.

“But it was never an option for me to terminate my baby. Regardless of the outcome, all I know is I tried my hardest and I never took the possible easy way out.”

Her daughter is due in December, with Hannah set to name her Nova.

She added: “It’s my decision to go ahead as far as I can go with my pregnancy. I’m hoping and praying I can get her far enough to give her a fighting chance.”

Due to her pregnancy Hannah is limited in terms of painkillers she can take, leaving her in “excruciating pain” at times.

“The only pain relief I am taking is paracetamol,” she commented.

While she is undergoing treatment at the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre her friend Natalie Myles has set up an online fundraiser to help support her.

Hannah added: “Nothing makes sense to me right now. In the space of four weeks, my whole world has been turned upside down. My friends have been my rock.

“I literally could never ever thank them for what they have done. The fundraiser was to raise cash for my outgoings.

“There was a lot of pressure on me the day after chemotherapy as my rent was six days late, so my friends took it upon themselves to set a go fund me page up. I cannot believe the amount of support and generosity from people. I am so overwhelmed.

“When I am better, I want to go into nursing and help as many people as I possibly can. After being between Clatterbridge and ICU, I can not fault one nurse.”

The most common symptoms of lung cancer include:

  • A cough that does not go away after three weeks
  • A long-standing cough that gets worse
  • Chest infections that keep coming back
  • Coughing up blood
  • An ache or pain when breathing or coughing
  • Persistent breathlessness
  • Persistent tiredness or lack of energy
  • Loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss.

If you experience symptoms you should speak to your GP.

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