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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Lisa McLoughlin

Vanessa Feltz claims medics told mum she was ‘neurotic’ before dying of endometrial cancer

Vanessa Feltz has claimed that her mother’s endometrial cancer was diagnosed too late due to “medical misogyny”.

The broadcaster’s mum, Valerie Ohrenstein, died in 1997 aged 57 as a result of the cancer, which Feltz believes could have been detected earlier.

Speaking on her TalkTV show on Thursday, the 61-year-old shared her mother’s experience of medical gender bias, revealing that she was branded “neurotic” while trying to find the root of her pain, with some medics blaming the menopause.

The TV presenter began: “My mother was suddenly getting the most tremendous abdominal pain but only sporadically and only sometimes and very unpredictably but it was incredibly painful when it happened.

Feltz urged women to speak up about their health (TalkTV)

“She went from doctor to doctor to doctor, specialist to specialist and they all pretty much did that pat her on the head thing saying, you know, ‘Are you neurotic? Are you looking for attention? Is it the menopause?…’ and it turned out to be endometrial cancer and she died at the age of 57.”

Feltz explained that her mum was “neither heard nor listened to,” and that it eventually “spread so far that they couldn’t really do anything much about it.”

She reflected: “When the doctor says it’s nothing to worry about, ‘Don’t worry your pretty little head about it’, you just think, ‘Okay, good’, don’t you?

“As her family, we, to some extent, thought, ‘They say it’s nothing serious, good’, rather than ‘Push harder, push harder, and try and find out what it is, it must be something’.”

After sharing her mother’s experience, Feltz urged women to talk up for themselves if they were concerned.

She said: “You don’t have to kick up a fuss or have a fight but just say it.”

The This Morning agony aunt has previously spoken about having check-ups every six months in bid to stay healthy for longer.

She previously told The Mirror: “I have everything, everything you can have. My mother died 20 years ago and I miss her every day. I would like to live much longer than that.”

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