Every day cancer patients are being failed by our health system as signs of the deadly disease are ignored or misdiagnosed. As a result, lives are being lost. In a five-day series health reporter Emma Russell tells the tragic stories of some of the people who have been let down by the system.
A solo mum is dying of lung cancer after she waited a year for a follow-up scan.
Karyn Robson was "jumping with joy" when her doctor told her all her tumours had disappeared and the invasive surgery she had gone through was a success.
The 38-year-old Cantabrian was told she would not need a check-up for another 12 months.
But when Robson - whose fiance died of bowel cancer - went back to the hospital as instructed by her specialist, the scan showed her cancer had returned. It was terminal.
"I completely broke down as I had faith in the specialists that my surgery was a success and I was cured.
"I was petrified and kept thinking, 'How could it have come back so quickly and so seriously?' Once the shock subsided, questions began to come into my mind ... 'Why wasn't I scanned earlier and more frequently after my surgery?'"
She believes if a follow-up scan had been done sooner she could have been treated and her daughter wouldn't be about to lose a second parent.
Eight years ago her fiance, Kris, who was like a father to her daughter, Danika, died of bowel cancer.
He visited his doctor with pain in his upper abdomen and was treated for a suspected stomach ulcer. But the medication he was given didn't work and the pain continued.
Within weeks, he was rushed to the emergency department where he spent the night before getting discharged with pain relief.
Robson said she knew it was serious as he had a high pain threshold and was reduced to tears.
"I had asked the doctor if it could be cancer as my father had stomach cancer, and I thought their symptoms had seemed quite similar.
"The doctor had told us it was highly unlikely because [Kris] had no family history, was young, fit and healthy."
Less than a month later he had more tests which revealed terminal bowel cancer. Within two months he was dead.
"He didn't make it to our wedding, we tried to get married at Hospice but were then told he wasn't of fit mind so we couldn't even do that. He was an amazing man and I loved him so much," Robson said.
She said the system needed to change. Patients should be advised of all their options and referred for diagnostic scans quicker.
"Doctors aren't always correct, and sometimes us as patients have to go with our gut feel. It seems an awfully long wait to actually be referred to the treatments that are really needed to make a correct diagnosis.
"I've never smoked in my life. I haven't even held a cigarette. To hear that I had lung cancer just totally caught me off guard," Robson said.
She felt the stigma around lung cancer was huge. "A lot of people are surprised when I say I've never smoked and I think that's part of the reason lung cancer isn't supported as much as it should be."
Tomorrow: Failings at a primary care level
Wednesday: Unacceptable waiting times
Thursday: The inequalities based on age, income and location
Friday: What needs to happen?