Woman's 'menopause' symptoms revealed to be rare cancer: 'I knew I needed to go to the doctor'
Eve Lauder, a 47-year-old police officer, who lives in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, was shocked to discover she had an advanced form of Goblet cell carcinoma, a rare cancer also known as GCC.
According to rarediseases.org, GCC affects just one in every two million people.
Lauder’s nightmare began when she started suffering from 'menopausal' aches and pains around May 2020.
“I started experiencing period-like pain in my abdomen – it was a shooting pain through my stomach every now and then,” she says.
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Lauder knew something was wrong but admitted that she ignored the first warning signs.
“At first I brushed it off. I thought I must be going through the menopause but after seven months, the pain hadn’t shifted," she says.
"There wasn’t any big indicator or glowing red sign that something was seriously wrong, but I knew my own body, and I knew I needed to go to the doctors.”
Lauder booked an appointment in mid-November 2020 and was sent for further tests at Weston General Hospital.
“The [doctors] were stumped and, at first. They thought it was endometriosis but that was then disregarded,” Lauder explains.
And after more tests and a biopsy, she was called back to the hospital in mid-December 2020.
Lauder was diagnosed with stage four Goblet cell carcinoma, which according to the NHS, is a rare and aggressive type of tumour that almost exclusively affects the appendix – which explained her abdominal pains. And sadly, doctors told her that she only had six to 12 months to live.
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“It was devastating, but I was determined to fight the illness,” Lauder says.
She began chemotherapy at Weston General Hospital in a bid to slow down the progression of the cancer, and made a bucket list of all the things she wanted to do.
“There were festivals I wanted to go to and places I’ve never been. I’ve always really wanted to visit Germany so I added that to the list. Since making the list, I’ve been to the Bahamas, Menorca and Mallorca.”
“I went to Glastonbury last month with a friend and, even though I was going through chemo during the festival, taking eight tablets a day, I had an amazing time,” Lauder adds.
Since her diagnosis, Lauder has raised over £30,000 for Cancer Research UK and in June 2022, she was chosen to carry the Queen’s baton in the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
“It was a really proud moment," she smiles. "I was nominated by my sister and friends and, on the day, I carried the baton 200 metres to the next person. It was a huge honour.”
Lauder was also a Pride of Britain semi-finalist for the south west and, in between treatments of chemo, she took part in Race for Life, mixing running and walking to complete the 5km race.
Now, Lauder is determined to stay positive and focused on the future.
“There is a possibility that a clinical trial could come up that I’m eligible for. That would be the last hope of stopping the progression of my cancer,” she explains. “But I have already beaten the prognosis I was initially given and I don’t plan on slowing down.”
Lauder continues to keep busy during chemotherapy treatments, which alternates two weeks on tablets and one week off, using her spare time to make care packages for other cancer patients at her local hospital.
“When told you’ll need chemo, you expect all of the obvious side effects – hair loss, fatigue and sickness. But there are other effects that people often don’t talk about. Cold hands, dry lips, a constant metal taste in your mouth,” she admits.
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“So I make oncology packages for people going through chemo and they are full of things like lip balm, suncream and hand warmers. It’s just my way of giving back.”
And when she is not helping others, Lauder is ticking things off her bucket list and making the most of life.
“I’m spending as much time as I can with my grandson in between the trips I’m taking. Next week, I’m off to a micro festival before going on a trip to Germany. Once I’m back, I’m going to London for an Abba weekend with some friends.”
“Life is full of adventure and opportunity for me and I’m grabbing it with both hands,” she says.
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