How mum-of-seven's swollen leg was a sign of something more serious

Mum of seven reveals the symptoms doctors repeatedly missed before she was diagnosed with stage four cancer – after going to hospital with a swollen leg

  • Mother of seven’s swollen leg turns out to be stage 4 cancer
  • Cherece Straiton, 35, given cervical cancer diagnosis
  • Multiple doctors dismissed issues insisting they were blood clots 

A mother-of-seven has revealed how she knew the swelling in her leg was something more sinister than what her doctors told her – but she had no way of being prepared for the stage four cervical cancer diagnosis she eventually received.

In October last year, 35-year-old Cherece Straiton was advised by her sister, a nurse, that her swollen leg appeared to be deep vein thrombosis.

After visiting the emergency department, the swelling was determined to be a superficial blood clot and she was told there was no cause for concern.

But the following month, the West Australian mother of seven children under 13 was forced to present to the emergency department again, when a second blood clot was found in her abdomen and she was prescribed blood thinners.

In the months that ensued she experienced bouts of back pain and shortness of breath as well as a dry cough and weight loss.

Mum of seven Cherece Straiton’s (pictured) leg started to swell in October last year and what was originally dismissed as a blood clot turned into a horror revelation of stage four cancer cervical months later

Multiple doctors dismissed the mother of seven’s swollen leg and in the months that ensued she experienced bouts of back pain and shortness of breath as well as a dry cough and weight loss before an ECG revealed she had cervical cancer 

Ms Straiton told PerthNow multiple GP appointments saw her prescribed antibiotics and a preventer for her breathing difficulties until she went to another doctor who recommended she get an ECG.

On March 23 results from the ECG flagged abnormalities in her heart and she was admitted to the hospital, where she has remained ever since.

A biopsy of her pelvis revealed she had stage four cancer, which spread from the left side of the pelvic bone to the lower left side of her spine, as well as suspected tumours in her heart.

‘I felt like I kind of already knew it wasn’t going to be a good result, I just had that feeling … but I didn’t expect cervical cancer, I didn’t think I had any of the symptoms,’ Ms Straiton said.

‘Inside (I felt) anxiety and panic, thinking about what this looks like for the future, but then on the outside I just kept it together and went ‘Okay what are my options, what are we going to do about it and when can we get started’.’

Ms Straiton has seven children under the age of 13.

Her health has deteriorated over the months since and now struggles to even walk as she undergoes two lots of chemotherapy weekly as well as immunotherapy once every three weeks and takes regular blood thinners.

Yet despite the grim prognosis, Ms Straiton refuses to be negative.

‘I just feel like things can change … and it doesn’t necessarily mean I’ve got this end time and that’s it… I mean, it could be a miracle and everything works out fine,’ she said.

‘I’ve heard positive things from the doctors since starting treatment and nothing negative in the last couple of weeks. So I just think if things have been positive, let’s continue that way.’

Ms Straiton’s sister Kia – a nurse – set up a GoFundMe to support her sister through treatment and help care for her children, with the children staying with various family members

Ms Straiton’s nurse sister Kia set up a GoFundMe to support her through treatment and help care for her children.

The fundraiser has received more than 7,000 donations and raised more than $220,000.

‘Cherece happens to be one of the bravest individuals I know, she has recently been diagnosed with stage four cervical cancer and is currently in hospital undergoing chemotherapy while her kids are scattered amongst family and being well taken care of,’ Kia wrote on the GoFundMe page.

‘Cherece has been required to cease work and is worried about the ongoing finances that she is responsible for.

‘Every cent that is donated will go directly to Cherece and her children to assist with living expenses and to provide the kids with as much normality and stability as possible.’

Ms Straiton has expressed her appreciation for the donations and the support she has received.

‘It blew my expectations, I did not expect it to get around the world and for people to continue sharing it and for it to get to where it did, it’s absolutely amazing,’ Ms Straiton said.

The family are also urging women to not forego their annual pap smears and to never take their health for granted, something she says she did.

‘The amount of times I’ve gone into the doctor’s surgery and seen those posters that say “have you been checked for cervical cancer” and I’ve thought, “nah, I’m not gonna bother”,’ she said.

On March 23 results from an ECG flagged abnormalities in her heart and she was admitted to the hospital, where she has remained ever since

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