A BELOVED NHS doctor has tragically died just months after she was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
Dr Jessi Tucker, 40, who was responsible for the life-saving care of hundreds of Covid-19 patients, had been battling the devastating skin cancer condition since March 23 last year.
The Bristol-based doctor had undergone intense immunotherapy treatment for her initial stage 3 melanoma while she worked ten hour shifts on the Covid frontline.
However, as her cancer became terminal and her NHS sick pay ran out, Jessi's loved ones rushed to raise money to pay for more treatment.
But tragically, her closest friend Caroline Walker revealed her beloved friend had sadly passed away surrounded by family on Friday night.
Writing on the GoFundMe page that she had organised for Jessi's treatment, Caroline said: "I am sorry to share with you some very sad news in this update.
"Jessi's condition deteriorated quite quickly in recent weeks and days. And last night, in the comfort of St Peter's Hospice in Bristol, she passed away. She was with her family and at peace.
"Your beautiful words of support and generous donations meant so much to Jessi and her family over the past few months.
"Jessi wanted you to know that any outstanding funds from this fundraiser will be distributed amongst a small selection of her chosen charities, supporting those causes she held closest to her heart – healthcare, animals and nature.
Skin cancer – what are the risks?
Melanoma skin cancer is the fifth most common cancer in the UK with around 16,000 new cases diagnosed each year.
It is getting more common, thought to be because people are going abroad for holidays.
More than 2,300 people die every year in the UK from melanoma. Most people (80 to 90 per cent) are monitored for one to five years after treatment and are then discharged with no further problems.
More than one in four skin cancer cases are diagnosed in people under 50.
Melanoma can spread to other organs in the body and so it is the most serious form of skin cancer.
The most common sign of melanoma is the appearance of a new mole or a change in an existing mole.
In most cases, melanomas have an irregular shape, are more than one colour, may be itchy or bleed and gradually change shape, size or colour.
Risk factors are:
- having fair skin
- a history of sunburn
- excessive UV light exposure that comes from the sun and tanning beds
- living closer to the equator
- having many moles or unusual moles
- a family history of melanoma
- a weakened immune system
Because of these risk factors, the easiest way to reduce risk of melanoma is to wear sun cream all year round, avoid the sun in the middle of the day and avoid tanning beds.
The Sun's Dying For A Tan campaign raises awareness about the dangers of using sunbeds.
Non-melanoma skin cancer
Non-melanoma skin cancer refers to a group of cancers that slowly develop in the upper layers of the skin.
Around 147,000 new cases of non-melanoma skin cancer are diagnosed each year.
It affects more men than women and is more common in the elderly.
The first sign of non-melanoma skin cancer is usually the appearance of a lump or discoloured patch on the skin that persists after a few weeks and slowly progresses over months or sometimes years.
In most cases, cancerous lumps are red and firm and sometimes turn into ulcers, while cancerous patches are usually flat and scaly.
At least 90 per cent non-melanoma skin cancer cases are successfully cured.
Risk factors are:
- a previous non-melanoma skin cancer
- a family history of skin cancer
- pale skin that burns easily
- a large number of moles or freckles
- taking medicine that suppresses your immune system
- a co-existing medical condition that suppresses your immune system
Sources: NHS and the Mayo Clinic
"On a personal note, I would like to thank each and every one of you for your support for my dear friend, a special soul who touched more lives than we will ever know."
Despite undergoing intense immunotherapy, Jessi's initial stage 3 melanoma progressed to stage 4 – the most aggressive stage – and she was told at the start of the year that she could have just nine months to live.
To make matters, the Bristol based doctor had used up all her NHS sick leave whilst undergoing cancer treatment – and was no longer receiving sick pay from work.
Caroline set up a GoFundMe page to help support Jessi when she started a new course of dual immunotherapy back in January 2021 that could have left her permanently unable to care for herself.
The fundraising page raised over £15,000 in the four weeks since it was set up and has now stopped at just over £23,000 with Caroline disabling it for future donations.
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