Megan Royle underwent surgery and immunotherapy before finding out she never had cancer at all (Picture: PA)
A woman who was diagnosed with cancer and underwent two years of treatment was left in ‘complete shock’ when doctors told her she had been wrongly diagnosed.
Megan Royle, 33, was told she had skin cancer in 2019 and went through nine cycles of treatment as well as surgery – and even had her eggs frozen.
But two years later the mistake was uncovered when she moved home and a different hospital trust reviewed her records.
She’s now received compensation from the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the pathology service used by Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, as both misinterpreted her results, leading to the misdiagnosis.
Megan, a theatrical make-up artist from Beverley in East Yorkshire, said she struggled to understand what had happened, adding: ‘You just can’t really believe something like this can happen, and still to this day I’ve not had an explanation as to how and why it happened.
‘I spent two years believing I had cancer, went through all the treatment and then was told there had been no cancer at all.
‘When the doctors sat me down and told me it took a while to sink in.
‘You’d think the immediate emotion would be relief, and in some sense it was, but I’d say the greater emotions were frustration and anger.
Megan was left in complete shock when she found out she’d never actually had cancer (Picture: PA)
She received treatment for two years (Picture: PA)
‘When I was first told I had cancer and that I needed surgery to remove it and treatment which could impact on my fertility, my approach was simply to say “yes, let’s do what we need to do”.
‘I wasn’t thinking about having children at that time, but having children was always something I planned for later in life, so having eggs preserved was something I didn’t hesitate doing.
‘All in all, I got my head around it pretty quickly, as difficult as that was.
‘However, then to be told two years later, having undergone the treatment and lived with the worry, I found being told I’d never had cancer at all hard.
‘I wasn’t in a good place for quite some time to be honest, strange as that may seem.’
Megan first went to her GP in 2019, aged 29, after a mole on her arm increased in size, scabbed and became itchy.
A biopsy was carried out and she was told melanoma – a type of skin cancer – had been identified.
She was then referred to the specialist cancer unit at the Royal Marsden Hospital, where the biopsy was reviewed and she was again told it was melanoma.
Megan underwent nine cycles of immunotherapy treatment, and had her eggs frozen as the treatment can impact on fertility, and also underwent a 2cm wide excision of tissue to remove the ‘cancer’.
She was then told she was in remission – but when she moved north in 2021 for work, a new hospital trust reviewed her file and scans and found she never had melanoma in the first place.
She even underwent surgery – for no reason (Picture: PA)
She took her case to medical negligence specialists Hudgell Solicitors who won an out of court settlement with the two trusts.
Associate solicitor Matthew Gascoyne said: ‘This was obviously a quite unusual case in that Megan was mistakenly diagnosed with skin cancer, something which obviously had a significant psychological impact upon her given her young age.
‘This was exacerbated by her needing surgery, and being advised that the only treatment she could have may impact upon her fertility.
‘She suffered from sickness throughout her treatment, so it was a difficult time for her.
‘Finally, the psychological impact was worsened by being given the news that she’d not had cancer at all. All of this was entirely avoidable.
‘It was only when her post treatment care was transferred to another Trust that this was discovered.
‘Had she not moved, she may well now still be in a situation where she was believing she was in remission and that the cancer could return.’
Both NHS trusts have been approached for comment.
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‘You just can’t really believe something like this can happen, and still to this day I’ve not had an explanation as to how and why it happened.’