Melissa Sutton, from Rochdale, England, went to the doctor 10 times complaining of serious pain near her rib cage and shortness of breath, but physicians quickly dismissed it as a sports injury and prescribed painkillers.
“Our first appointment was in August 2014, and at the time Melissa was very sporty,” Melissa’s mother Alison told Daily Mail.
“She did a lot of trampolining so we had faith in the doctor's opinion at first, but soon the pain got so bad that she couldn't sleep at night. The painkillers did nothing to help Melissa. It gradually just got worse.”
Eventually, the pain became so intense Melissa’s mother Alison took her to the emergency room and doctors discovered the teen had a partially collapsed lung. After a scan of her abdomen, Melissa was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer, the Mirror reported.
Melissa’s life is on hold as she undergoes chemotherapy and radiotherapy at Royal Manchester Children's Hospital. In addition to the grueling medical treatment, she’s also had four ribs removed and had to drop out of school.
"When I was diagnosed with cancer it was a huge shock … It was news that no teenage girl wants to hear,” she told Mirror.
“I want to raise awareness so that other people who experience the same symptoms don't give up and trust their instincts."
Raj Patel, the medical director for NHS England in Greater Manchester and Lancashire, said in a statement: "We would like our express our sympathy and concern for Alison and her family during what must be a distressing time for them.
"Our priority is to ensure that patients receive the highest quality primary care services at all times.”
Alison and her family are now considering making a formal complaint about Melissa’s treatment, but Patel said the NHS would “take the issue forward and investigate it thoroughly.”