A BOWEL cancer patient has died after she “filled cups with blood” when she went to the toilet, but was not diagnosed by GP’s for ten months.
Gemma Epstein, who was newly married two days before dying on December 20, was told by doctors to “take each day as it comes”.
She was battling for her life and had to pay around £2000 a month for drugs she could not get on the NHS.
Her family had also set up a fundraising page to try and raise the cash for last-ditch treatment in Germany that they hoped could help her.
However, Gemma lost her battle just before Christmas as the cancer was so aggressive that no treatment could aid her.
Gemma had started paying for Avastin in the hope it will shrink her tumours, as she had been told by the NHS she could not have the drug because they no longer use it.
On December 12th, Gemma was told that the cancer was too aggressive for Avastin to work on its own without chemotherapy.
Eight days later, her sister, Becky Epstein uploaded an emotional post to Facebook confirming her passing.
She said: “Gemma passed away this morning at 8am with her husband by her side. An unbelievably beautiful, courageous and inspirational lady who touched so many people throughout her life.
“We are so very proud of how bravely and fiercely she fought her illness, right until the very end, she is now at peace. RIP my beautiful big sister “
Tributes quickly poured in online from those who knew Gemma.
Georgina Weymont wrote: “Love you all, can’t express how much Gemma touched our hearts.”
Elizabeth Chadwick wrote: “I am really sorry to hear this sad news.”
Trisha Sharkey wrote: “I only knew your beautiful sister for such a short time but what an inspirational woman she truly was.
Kevin Williams wrote: “R.I.P You’re going to be missed auntie Gem love you. Thanks for being such a great aunt. All my thoughts and prayers are with you and the family.”
Speaking today, sister Becky, 34, said: “The doctor told her no more Avastin, no more chemo. Take each day as it comes. She broke down.
“She deteriorated every day and we didn’t know how long she had left.
“The day before she died, she said ‘I don’t think I will be here tomorrow’.”
Becky said that despite her sister appearing to know her fate, it was still a shock when she died.
“Nothing can prepare you for that. It was such a shock.
“It is such a shame. We didn’t even have enough time to get used to her new name [Greenwood].”
Gemma had married her partner Ben Greenwood at Pendleside Hospice in Burnley, Lancashire two days before her death.
Gemma, from Middleton, Greater Manchester, first went to her doctor in the spring of 2015.
The 37-year-old had visited a number of GPs and walk-in centres over a ten month period before her diagnosis but could not get answers.
It was not until April 2016, after repeated visits to GP practices in NHS Greater Manchester and NHS England North, that Gemma was finally referred to a consultant.
Speaking earlier this month Becky described what Gemma was going through.
She said: ““She was going to the GP in pain and she was filling cups full of blood.
“They kept telling her nothing was wrong and they couldn’t find anything.
“If the cancer was caught sooner it would have been operated on sooner.”
Gemma’s funeral will take place in Haslingden, Lancashire, where she lived, later this month.