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Shock as Newmarket woman’s ‘anxiety’ cough was terminal cancer

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The family of a Newmarket woman who died of lung cancer, after being told her persistent cough was due to anxiety, believe if she had been diagnosed sooner she might have been able to have treatment.

Mary Fullman was 68 when she died at Gracewell in Kentford on November 10.

Her daughter, Chanel Mitchell, said her family, including her two grandchildren, missed her every day.

Mary Fullman
Mary Fullman

“By the time the cancer was diagnosed in August it was in both her lungs and her liver, and was stage four terminal,” said Chanel, “and it wasn’t even possible for mum to have a biopsy. I am disappointed because I feel more should have been done. This was more than an anxiety problem.”

Mary, of Beaverbrook Road, who had lived in Newmarket most of her life, and formerly worked as a volunteer in local charity shops, was well known in the town and was affectionately know by many as Little Mary.

Her cough symptons had started back in February 2020 when, despite Covid restrictions she had been able to have face to face consultations with her doctor who, Chanel said, thought she might be suffering from COPD, although a specialist nurse later ruled that out.

Mary Fullman with her grandchildren on a family holiday
Mary Fullman with her grandchildren on a family holiday

It was also suggested the cough might be due to an allergy and she was prescribed antihistamines.

Struggling to breath and losing weight because she was finding it difficult to eat, Mary was taken to West Suffolk Hospital by ambulance for scan on August 23 this year. She was so poorly she was taken straight to the accident and emergency department.

Two days later her cancer diagnosis was confirmed.

“She was in hospital for three weeks and was the moved to Gracewell for palliative care,” said Chanel, who works at the facility as a carer. “I saw her every day and we made every day count for her. Gracewell even brought Christmas forward so we could have it with her. She was like a sister to me and I feel as if I have lost my best friend.”

Mary also leaves two sons, Dean and Shane, and grandchildren, six-year-old Callum, and Summer, who is 13.

“They were her pride and joy,” said Chanel “and she should have had many more years with them. My brother is also planning to get married in a couple of years time and she knew she wouldn’t live to see that.”

Mary’s funeral will be held at West Suffolk Crematorium at Risby on Wednesday, November 24, and the family have said any donations will go to St Nicholas Hospice Care.

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