Leonie Large’s husband spoke about how important early diagnosis is in urging people to ‘please seek a second opinion if you need one’
A stepfather of two, who died of breast cancer after failing to get a referral from her GP, spoke about her “devastating” loss as well as highlighting how important early diagnosis is.
Leonie Large died on November 3, 2016 at the age of 34 after a battle with breast cancer, leaving behind her husband John and two sons Jack, 18 and Ryan, 15.
John speaks publicly about Breast Cancer Awareness Month in an effort to stress the importance of early detection. Leonie first saw her GP in June 2014 after she developed a small lump in her right breast, but unfortunately she did not have a thorough examination. She was notified as a swollen lymph gland, and was removed without any further referral.
“The pain today is still as severe as it was back then.”
Seventeen months on Leonie from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne is back at GP as the previous block was found along with a new block.
She was soon diagnosed with breast cancer, and despite extensive treatment, she died only a year after her final diagnosis. Her husband John, 42, has now spoken about the importance of an early diagnosis, and the tragic loss of his wife.
He said, “It’s been six years since we lost Leonie, but the pain today still feels as intense as it was back then. She was so young and so full of life before she had cancer, it was devastating to watch her hold on to her. Her death shortly after her diagnosis was a thing. Too hard.
“She was the best wife and mother, and knowing our sons would have to live their lives without her is unbearable. They were still too young when they had to deal with losing Leonie, and you wouldn’t see them marry or have families of their own.”
‘If cancer was caught earlier, Leonie might still be here’
John added, “To this day, I still feel that if cancer was detected earlier, Leonie might still be here. But I know there’s nothing I can do to turn back the clock and change what happened. It’s also important to catch cancer early.” , so please seek a second opinion if you need to. I really wish I could urge Leonie to do it; I feel like it might have saved her life.”
After her death, John instructed Irwin Mitchell’s medical negligence experts to investigate his wife’s care, while securing an undisclosed settlement.
Leoni’s doctor admitted it was a breach of duty in that they should have had a breast exam during Leone’s initial appointment – but denied that early treatment would have spared her death.
Rachel Mahapatra, a lawyer who specializes in medical negligence cases who represented John after Leonie’s death, said: “Leonie’s death from breast cancer at such a young age has left her loved ones in grief.
“John and their children, in particular, continue to struggle to come to terms with their loss. Cancer does not discriminate. It can affect anyone, and it is essential that it is screened and treated early to increase the chances of survival.
“While areas of concern in Leoni’s care have been identified during our investigations, people should still participate in cancer screening programs and seek medical advice if they are concerned.
“We cannot change the suffering the Leone family went through but we are happy to secure this settlement which will help secure the future of Leonie’s children and help the family access the professional support they need to try to rebuild their lives.
“We join John in supporting Breast Cancer Awareness Month. By telling his story, John hopes he can help others by raising awareness of the signs of illness.”