A mother told by doctors she was ‘too young’ to have breast cancer has died of the illness just weeks after her wedding day.
Sinead Richards, 31, was the picture of happiness when she tied the knot with her partner of 12 years Liam McDonagh on August 19.
But the mother-of-two passed away just 22 days later on September 10, a year after tests revealed she had stage four breast cancer, which had spread over her body.
The pastoral mentor, from Stanningley in West Yorkshire, found a lump in her breast in late 2019, then aged 29, and went to see her GP in early 2020. It is unclear whether this was before or after the first lockdown.
But her heartbroken husband claimed the doctors said it could not be breast cancer because she was ‘too young’. Medics reportedly carried out tests but her disease was not spotted.
Mr McDonagh, 33, encouraged her to return, at an unspecified time, and tests then revealed she had stage four incurable breast cancer.
Just one in four women survive for more than five years after they are diagnosed with the illness, which means the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, such as the bones, lungs, liver or brain.
Sinead Richards. who died on September 10 from stage four breast cancer, pictured on her wedding day with her husband Liam McDonagh and their daughters Paige, seven, and Georgie, 10
Ms Richard’s heartbroken husband Liam McDonagh claimed doctors said she was ‘too young’ to have breast cancer after she discovered a lump
Ms Richards initially put off visiting the doctors for two months as she did not think it would be cancer.
But after being diagnosed, she faced an 18-month battle against the cancer and spent the final weeks of her life in hospital in Leeds.
Ms Richards died on September 10, less than a month after their wedding, leaving behind her husband and their two daughters, Paige, seven, and Georgie, 10.
A funeral will take place in Leeds on October 7.
Now Mr McDonagh, a builder, has urged other women to get tested despite their age.
Speaking about their wedding day, he said: ‘Everyone was smiling all day. She was very unwell but it really showed what she was like, she battled to get there and put on a brave face.
‘It was mind over matter. She got herself there and that is all she wanted.
‘It has had a huge impact on our lives. She was amazing, she was such a lovely person.
‘Nobody she ever met had a bad word to say about her, everyone loved her. It is just so tragic.
Ms Richards initially put off visiting the doctors for two months as she did not think it would be cancer
Mr McDonagh said: ‘If her story helps even one more person to get checked, this will have all been worthwhile. She was the most amazing person’
‘When we were in the hospital, people would give us a second glance as they couldn’t believe how young we were. She was only 31, we couldn’t believe it.’
He added: ‘If her story helps even one more person to get checked, this will have all been worthwhile. She was the most amazing person.
‘I just want to show that this can happen to anyone and urge people to get checked if they ever notice anything.’
A fundraiser has been launched on GoFundMe to support the family and help with costs of a funeral which will take place on October 7.
A day at a local pub and a canal ride from Leeds to Liverpool have been organised in the fundraising drive – and more than £3,000 has been raised so far.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK and nearly all women survive for five years or more (98 per cent) if it is caught in stage one.
But if it is not caught early enough and develops to stage four, just 25 per cent will survive for more than five years after they are diagnosed.
Once it reaches stage four, the cancer is no longer curable, but can be controlled with treatment, such as hormone therapy or chemotherapy.
How to check your breasts – and what to look out for
By Liz O’Riordan Breast surgeon and breast cancer survivor
The most obvious sign can be a lump, either in the breast or high up in the armpit. It might be visible, or only obvious when you feel it. But other signs include dimpling of the skin on the breast, an inverted nipple or bleeding from the nipple. A red rash can also be an indication of an underlying problem.
HOW TO CHECK The best time is during your period when the balance of hormones means the tissue will naturally be less lumpy and sore. If you’re post-menopausal, any time is fine, although most women find that checking on the first of the month is a good way to remember.
- Stand topless in front of a mirror and check your breasts face on, and then from each side. If your breasts are large, lift them up and check the skin underneath.
- Lift your hands above your head and look again – do they look any different?
- Put your hands on your hips and tense your chest muscles and check again.
- Lie down to feel your breasts and, using the flat surface of your fingers, push down on to the breast tissue. Feel your whole breast, in a circular motion from your cleavage to your armpit.
- Also check in the armpit itself, pushing the skin and fat against your ribcage.
- If you find a lump anywhere, check the opposite breast or armpit – chances are it will feel the same.
- If you’re concerned about something you’ve found, check again in two weeks. If it’s still there, get it checked out by a doctor.