'If I do not have my leg amputated, I will die': East Hull woman faces cancer op
A WOMAN who claims it took months to confirm she has cancer will have her leg amputated within days to improve her chances of survival.
Vicki Skelton has had primary lymphoedema, a chronic condition that causes swelling in the body's tissue, in her left leg for more than 20 years.
She said she has almost always managed the condition herself as services to control the symptoms are not available locally.
But after her leg began to bleed, and what she thought was a blood blister appeared, Vicki, 47, sought help through her GP in April and Hull's accident and emergency department in July.
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Last month, doctors confirmed she had angiosarcoma, a rare cancer of the blood vessels, and she will now have her leg amputated above the knee to stop the cancer spreading.
Vicki, of east Hull, said: "If I don't have my leg amputated, I will die.
"It started off as a blood blister and I think if they had known what it was, it might not have been like it is now and I might not be losing my leg.
"I have no choice and I'm gutted.
"After the operation, I have to have chemotherapy and, even after all that, they still don't know if it will be clear.
"They said the way this cancer works, it will go straight to the lungs. They are clear at the moment but you just don't know what's going to happen."
Vicki remains in Castle Hill Hospital in Cottingham and recent tests confirmed the cancer is still in her ankle, which is why doctors have decided to amputate.
She claims her prognosis may have been better if services to manage the primary lymphoedema were available in Hull and the tumour in her leg had been detected sooner.
The nearest services for primary lymphoedema patients are in Leeds. Vicki has met health professionals in Hull, as well as Hull East MP Karl Turner, to discuss the issue.
She said there is a possibility of having an artificial limb in the future but the swelling due to her condition may make it difficult.
"I have always been a carer and looked after other people," said Vicki. "Now the roles are reversed and I will have to cope.
"I'm taking it day by day because there is so much to take in."
Vicki's partner, Sean Tierney, 50, said: "It shouldn't have come to this. Vicki has been through so much pain and suffering."
A spokesman for Hull And East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust said it was not appropriate to comment on Vicki's case.