Teacher has nine organs removed in cancer fight


A Somerset teacher was shocked to discover she needed nine organs removed to help beat her diagnosis

Lucy Payne, a Somerset teacher and mum of two, has had nine organs removed in a bid to beat her rare cancer diagnosis. The procedure took ten hours and is one of the most invasive operations to be performed in the UK. The 37-year-old had to undergo the treatment just a year after giving birth to her second daughter. 

Lucy was diagnosed with the very rare cancer of the appendix after suffering from symptoms throughout her pregnancy. Doctors assumed that the chest and stomach pains she was experiencing were due to her pregnancy. They then changed their mind and placed endometriosis on her reports as it has very similar symptoms. 

Lucy could sense something there was more than meets the eye with her pain. “I was always breathless and suffered from extreme fatigue through my pregnancy. I also experienced a lot of reduced movement from the baby, which I now know was due to the cancer growing inside of me. After my pregnancy, I had a bloated tummy, heavy periods and constipation along with a pain in my lower right chest, which did not disappear after my daughter was born” she told Stand Up To Cancer. 

She added: “All of these symptoms I had never experienced with my first pregnancy and I just knew something wasn’t right. It wasn’t until I had a second CT scan and removal of my kidney stones, two months after my first scan that doctors found the true extent of the problem.” 

It was November 2020 that she was finally assessed to have cancer of the appendix. She assumed that the doctors could simply “take out my appendix and it will be ok.” The medical staff informed her this was not the case due to the cancer’s spread. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, she had to wait three months to hear what treatment she could have. It was decided she needed nine organs removed and hyperthermic intraperioneal chemotherapy (HIPEC), which heated chemotherapy sluiced inside the abdomen to wash away the cancer cells in the harder to reach areas. The operation took her spleen, appendix, some of her diaphragm, gallbladder and peritoneum, ovaries, uterus as well most of her stomach lining.

Lucy said: “I now try to live every day the best I can, to get strong and recover from my operation and hopefully one day, I will be cancer-free.

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Written by

Claire Gordon


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