Sam Corti had a sense of foreboding as she drove to hospital. For more than a year, the 40-year-old had been suffering increasingly painful and heavy periods and cramping pain in between. Although her GP had reassured her it was probably nothing more sinister than fibroids - benign growths in the womb - her instinct was that it was much more serious.
‘Jade Goody had just been diagnosed with cervical cancer and I’d had the same disease when I was 21,’ she recalls. ‘Unlike Jade, my cancer had been caught in the very early stages - it was picked up on a smear test - and treated successfully. Even though I’d had annual smear tests since, which were always clear, I had this horrible feeling the cancer had returned.’
Unfortunately, her instinct proved right. A scan and a further internal examination showed a grapefruit-sized tumour had wrapped itself round her bladder and bowel. The tumour was graded as a very aggressive 4a - with 1a being the least aggressive. Sam was also told they had found several inflamed lymph nodes in the groin area. Her chances of survival were 50:50.