Millie Farmer

In July 2016, Millie Farmer, 47, from Virginia USA was admitted to the Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Wing at Hammersmith Hospital for life-saving surgery carried out by Professor Christina Fotopoulou, consultant gynaecological oncologist.

“I was diagnosed with a rare form of ovarian cancer (low grade) while I was living in America in 2002 and, as far as I knew, my condition was dealt with successfully. I then put the whole business behind me and carried on with life.

However, in June 2016, while I was living in Singapore I started to have ominous symptoms, like abdominal bloating, pain and bowel problems. A consultant told me that I had had a relapse. If the news that my cancer had returned wasn’t shocking enough, conversations with several gynaecologists and oncologists in Singapore and with a specialist UK cancer hospital were considerably worse – to my disbelief they told me I was inoperable and that my cancer was in such an advanced state there were few viable options available.

You can imagine how shocking it was to hear. I have a husband and two children I love dearly, and I was still a young woman. I still had places to go and things to see. I couldn’t take the news in at all.

“Professor Fotopoulou has a bedside manner that is unrivalled. Pair this with her surgical skill and you have an unbeatable combination.”

When clarity of thought returned, I got in contact with a forum for women with my condition in the UK, and asked if anyone knew of a surgeon who was expert enough to help me. To my relief, a woman responded, saying: “You must get in contact with Professor Christina Fotopoulou in London. If anyone can help you, she can.”

Without delay I contacted Professor Fotopoulou and she agreed to look at my scans. In just a few weeks I was on a flight to London. I had no previous experience of the British private healthcare system but I needn’t have worried. The medical and administrative staff at Imperial Private Healthcare ensured I was totally looked after, and ‘held my hand’ the whole time I was in their care.

In a four hour operation, Professor Fotopoulou removed the cancerous tumour that had invaded my abdominal cavity. She had to remove the pelvic and abdominal peritoneum, spleen and liver capsule. Although my condition isn’t unusual, the cancer was so extensive that it could only be dealt with by a consultant and medical team with superior surgical skills.

Post operatively, my recovery was much faster than we dared hope for. I can only put this down to Professor Fotopoulou’s expertise and the care I received. I take a regular maintenance drug and I will be monitored very carefully in the years to come, but importantly, my quality of life has returned. In fact, I am in better health than ever before.

Over many years my husband’s job has taken our family all over the world. We have lived in countries like the United States of America, France, Singapore, China and Japan. I have an international experience of healthcare and I can honestly say that the best care I have received has been as a patient with Imperial Private Healthcare.

“I can’t thank Professor Fotopoulou more, or say enough good things about her – she gave me my life back when no other doctor could.”

Professor Fotopoulou has a bedside manner that is unrivalled. Pair this with her surgical skill and you have an unbeatable combination. I will return to Imperial Private Healthcare whenever I need treatment, no matter where I am living, simply to remain her patient. I have been told by an oncologist on Harley Street that Christina has just two peers of her calibre and both are in New York. What Professor Fotopoulou does for women like me is nothing short of miraculous and her reputation is well deserved.

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