Mum undergoes chemotherapy, double mastectomy and surgery before being told cancer diagnosis was wrong

Chiara Giordano

A young mother was left traumatised after undergoing months of chemotherapy and having her breast removed – only to be told doctors got her cancer diagnosis wrong.

Sarah Boyle, 28, was told she had triple negative breast cancer by doctors at Royal Stoke University Hospital at the end of 2016.

But several months later, in July 2017, the hospital realised its error – after the mother-of-two had already had extensive treatment, a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery.

Ms Boyle has since received the added blow that her breast implants may now heighten the risk of her developing cancer in the future.

“The past few years have been incredibly difficult for me and my family,” said Ms Boyle, who lives in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, with husband Steven, 31, and her two children Teddy and Louis.

“Being told I had cancer was awful, but then to go through all of the treatment and surgery to then be told it was unnecessary was traumatising.

“As if that wasn’t bad enough, I am now worried about the possibility of actually developing cancer in the future because of the type of implants I have and I am also worried about complications that I may face because of my chemotherapy.

“While nothing will change what I've been through, I really need some answers on what is being done to make sure nobody else suffers in the same way I have.”

Ms Boyle said she suffered psychological trauma as a result of her ordeal and still has ongoing symptoms caused by her treatment.

She was initially told that her cancer treatment may lead to fertility issues, but went on to have a second child, Louis, who is now seven months old.

However, she was unable to breastfeed him because of her treatment.

Ms Boyle was aged 25 when she was misdiagnosed by doctors following the birth of her youngest child.

Sarah Boyle before she was wrongly diagnosed with breast cancer (left) and after treatment (right). (Sarah Boyle/SWNS)

She was later informed by her treating doctor, Mr Narayanan, that her biopsy had been incorrectly reported and it was confirmed that she did not have cancer.

Ms Boyle instructed specialist medical negligence lawyers to investigate the case, who have now secured an admission of liability from University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust.

Sarah Sharples, a legal expert at Irwin Mitchell solicitors, who is representing Ms Boyle, said: “This is a truly shocking case in which a young mother has faced heartbreaking news and a gruelling period of extensive treatment, only to be told that it was not necessary.

“The entire experience has had a huge impact on Sarah in many ways.

“While we welcome that the NHS Trust has admitted to the clear failings, we are yet to hear if any improvements have been put in place to prevent something like this happening again.

“We are also deeply concerned following reports surrounding the type of implants Sarah has, with suspicions over their potential link to a rare form of cancer.

“Understandably, Sarah has a number of questions that need to be answered with regards to this and it has caused her significant distress.”

The University Hospital of North Midlands NHS Trust apologised to Ms Boyle, adding that extra safeguard measures were now in place.

A spokesperson said: “A misdiagnosis of this kind is exceptionally rare and we understand how devastating this has been for Sarah and her family.

“In addition to an unreserved apology to Sarah, the findings of the investigation have been shared with her and the case is now part of an ongoing legal claim with which the trust is co-operating fully.

“Ultimately, the misreporting of the biopsy was a human error so as an extra safeguard all invasive cancer diagnoses are now reviewed by a second pathologist.

“Sarah continues to be in regular contact with the clinical team who treated her and they are always available to discuss any on-going concerns she may have.”

The Independent has contacted University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust for comment.

SWNS contributed to this report.