Terminally ill actress Leah Bracknell has called for more NHS funding after revealing how over-stretched doctors missed her cancer.
In 2016 the former Emmerdale star, 53, suddenly felt breathless while climbing stairs and her abdomen swelled up, but she saw four GPs in 10 days before she was finally taken to A&E.
‘I was dying, but the urgency of the situation was completely missed,’ she told The Daily Star, as she called for the government to give the NHS a cash injection. ‘The funding crisis and resultant staff shortages cannot meet demand.’
The star who played Zoe Tate as diagnosed with inoperable and incurable stage 4 lung cancer and started targeted biological therapy on the NHS to prolong her life.
On her blog, Something Beginning With C, she’s also spoke about how long it takes to get urgent diagnostic tests from the overstretched health service.
‘Even now, receiving treatment at a cutting edge NHS cancer centre, urgent scans are taking up to three weeks to come back due to the severe shortage of qualified radiographers,’ she said.
In August 2017, the actress and yoga teacher revealed the treatment had stopped working and that she was relying on alternative treatments such as plant-based healing oils and sessions in an infrared sauna.
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Former Emmerdale star Leah Bracknell, 53, has revealed that doctors initially missed her cancer before she was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer in October 2016
Leah was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in October 2016, and feared she would die within a year of receiving the devastating news
Her now husband Jez set up a GoFundMe page in the hope of raising funds to pay for further immunotherapy and integrative medicine at a German Clinic, raising £64,560 thus far.
Last month, it emerged that Leah wed her long-term partner author Jez Hughes, 44, in March last year after discovering her treatment had stopped working.
The husband and wife said their vows in the drawing room at Park House – a grade II listed Georgian building Horsham, Sussex on March 10.
In December the actress and yoga teacher appeared on Lorraine where she told the host that she wanted to teach people how to embrace life, and said that she still has hope for the future despite feeling ‘written off’ by some.
‘It is still my life, other people were writing me off quicker. Even people close to me, I don’t mean to be unkind, but people are embarrassed, they don’t know what to do,’ she said on the show.
Former Emmerdale star Leah Bracknell quietly married her long-term partner Jez Hughes in a small ceremony in March last year
The star is a devoted yoga practitioner and has tried alternative treatments such as healing
In a blog post last month to mark a year since her diagnosis, Leah insisted she sees cancer as a teacher she can learn from rather than an enemy
‘They… are feeling very pitiful. The one thing that nobody wants is to be pitied.
‘It feels like all my power has been taken away,’ she said.
‘This [her positive approach] is very much about how we can hold onto our power in order to deal with doctors and hospitals and retain authority.
‘The point is, it’s life and living. I am alive until the point I am not. That for me is the key, not to surrender to something else.’
But she recently revealed in an interview with the Mirror how people had stopped offering her work since learning of her cancer battle.
‘No one is employing me since I was diagnosed, the phone hasn’t been ringing,’ she said.
Despite the setbacks, Leah said she is determined to remain positive and insists she sees cancer as a ‘teacher’ she can learn positive lessons from, rather than an enemy.
She has undergone immunotherapy treatment in Germany, which is not available on the NHS.
The treatment ‘reprogrammes’ the body’s defence system to attack cancerous cells. Trials show it could stop cancer from spreading and reduce tumour size.
The experimental treatment isn’t a permanent medication as it stops working when the cancer starts to resist it.
She’s also had Mexican shamans by her hospital bed in an attempt to heal her. Shamanic healers believe that illness has a spiritual cause and results in a loss of energy or power.
Leah has been practicing yoga for 15 years and also teaches it. She cites it as a way to keep her calm and positive in the face of her devastating diagnosis.