Young Canterbury mum given months to live after failed diagnoses

Hayley Beaumont, here with daughter Abbey, 11, was told she had nothing to worry about after...
Hayley Beaumont, here with daughter Abbey, 11, was told she had nothing to worry about after repeated visits to her GP in 2019, before being diagnosed with terminal cancer. Photo: Supplied
After nearly a year of being turned away from her GP, a Canterbury mother faces just months to live after she was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Hayley Beaumont is just 31 and is now urging other people to follow their gut instinct and get a second opinion.

"If something doesn't feel right with your body, push to get more tests done, and get a second opinion," she told Newstalk ZB host Chris Lynch.

It was January 2019. Her GP had quit four months prior but she still had full faith in her new doctor.

She went to her doctor at that point as that's when she first experienced massive amounts of bleeding.

"I was getting tennis ball-sized blood clots."

But when she went to see her doctor about her symptoms, Beaumont was told she was too fit, young and healthy to have anything seriously wrong.

The words will now forever haunt as just 11 months later, on New Year's Eve, she was admitted to Christchurch Women's Hospital with kidney failure.

"I'd only just woken up from a procedure, and the surgeon came in and said he needed to talk to me," Beaumont told Lynch.

"My dad started crying because he knew it was going to be bad news."

The surgeon said, "I'm sorry it's cancer, and it's very far progressed as well."

The solo mum was diagnosed with stage four cervical cancer.

"I didn't know how to react, because my dad was there and had broken down. I was trying to be strong for him really.

"My first thoughts went to my daughter, wondering how she would cope with the news."

Beaumont said she had been to her doctor many times in those 11 months and each time she was brushed off, despite her symptoms increasing and worsening.

Then everything came to a head on Boxing Day, when she ended up in hospital.

"I had been getting bad headaches and felt that something wasn't right."

Doctors initially thought her symptoms were isolated to her kidneys or high blood pressure.

After explaining the situation to staff at the gynaecological ward, at Christchurch Women's, a complaint was made on her behalf to the Health and Disability Commissioner.

The investigation is ongoing, she said.

Beaumont now wonders if her life would have been different if she saw her first doctor, who she'd been seeing for years, but who had retired four months earlier.

For now though, energy levels are low and she wants to enjoy what time she has left.

Her number-one priority is her 11-year-old daughter Abbey.

Before her diagnosis, Beaumont had been working as a pre-school reliever, but she's had to give that up.

She's now on pain medication and finished her second round of intensive chemotherapy this week.

She's exhausted from the treatment, which she hopes will prolong her life.

But there are side effects - numb fingers, weak leg muscles, and more recently, hair loss.

Beaumont was given between six months and two years to live. She says after her third chemotherapy treatment, doctors would be able to decide if it was worth continuing.

A Givealittle page has been set up for Hayley and her family, but what's most important is getting her message out to the public.

Cancer in NZ

In New Zealand, about 150 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year according to the Cancer Society.

Latest Ministry of Health data says each year there are about 25,000 abnormal smear test results among New Zealand women.

Without cervical screening, about one out of 90 women will develop cervical cancer and one out of 200 will die from it.

With cervical screening, about one out of 570 will develop cervical cancer and one out of 1280 will die from it.



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