A woman’s body refuses to accept treatment for her stage four cancer after a doctor mistakenly dismissed cancerous lumps on her legs and feet as fat.
Gemma Malins, 28, was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic melanoma in October 2019, despite previous medical reassurance.
The New Zealand woman, who was studying to be a teacher in early childhood, has not responded to treatment for the aggressive cancer that has spread to her brain and lungs for a year.
Gemma Malins, 28, (pictured on vacation with husband Brandon) was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic melanoma in October 2019
Ms. Malins and her partner Brandon accelerated their wedding plans after her crushing diagnosis in 2019 with aggressive cancer
‘It hasn’t been that good. The treatment I get every three weeks is no longer working, ”she said 7 News.
Ms. Malins said it took a year to be properly diagnosed by doctors, and the melanomas have unfortunately continued to grow.
“The scans I showed show that the melanomas in my stomach started to grow rather than shrink,” she said.
‘There’s a big one in my pelvis. Sometimes it gets so painful it feels like broken glass in my skin. ‘
On Friday, she began a new treatment that doctors said is her ‘last option,’ an expensive drug called ipilimumab, which is not covered by Pharmac, the New Zealand drug funding agency.
She fears the treatment will cost about $ 50,000, and although her grandmother paid for the first round, she has a Give little page to help raise the rest.
Ms. Malins says the whole process has been so sudden and shocking that they have not been able to “handle” it.
“It has changed our lives dramatically,” she said.
Ms. Malins and her partner Brandon, 21, were focused on ticking off items from her bucket list before being forced to undergo the new treatment.
The couple flew from Auckland to Queenstown on 7 September 2020 to celebrate both of their birthdays in a ‘vacation of a lifetime’.
New Zealand woman, who was studying to be a teacher in early childhood, has been unresponsive to treatment for cancer that has spread to her brain and lungs for a year
She and her partner Brandon, 21, accelerated their wedding plans after receiving the crushing diagnosis in 2019
What is Stage Four Metastatic Melanoma?
Stage 4 melanoma means that the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, such as the lungs, brain, or other organs and tissues.
It may also have spread to lymph nodes that are far from the original tumor. As such, stage 4 melanoma is often difficult to cure with current treatments.
The couple also hastened their wedding plans after receiving the crushing diagnosis.
The couple tied the knot at a small beach ceremony in December 2019 after two weeks of planning.
Mrs. Malins described it as the most ‘perfect day’.
“ We followed the wedding quickly because we just didn’t know what the future held, and we still don’t know, ” she said.
Speaking to Daily Mail Australia in July, she shared how she had been left smoking because she had first raised her concerns about the lumps with her primary care physician a year earlier.
She saw a doctor who said the lumps on her legs were lipoma, a fatty tissue that can develop under the skin as people age.
The benign growths are rarely harmful, but as the growths spread throughout her body, Ms. Malins became concerned.
She went to a new GP who reported the news that the lumps could be more serious.
But she had to wait another three months before seeing a specialist who confirmed the cancer diagnosis.
Brandon, 20, quit his job as a beekeeper to be by her side during treatment (photo: the couple on their wedding day last year)