Kiwi woman had lethal tumour for six years, told by doctors she was 'a hypochondriac'

Hannah Cadwallader.
Hannah Cadwallader. Photo credit: Givealittle

A woman says her tumour went undetected for six years as doctors played down her condition as "anxiety" and told her she was "a hypochondriac".

Kiwi woman Hannah Cadwallader, 28, was diagnosed with Cushing disease late last year - caused by a tumour in her pituitary gland.

Symptoms of the disease include headaches, fatigue, acne, muscle and bone loss, weight gain and high blood pressure.

Cadwallader said doctors dismissed her symptoms in the years before she was diagnosed, thinking she was suffering from anxiety.

Now she's sharing her story to raise awareness.

"I could have died but this one doctor listened and has saved my life," she told NZME.

In a Givealittle page created to help cover her medical fees, she says she "slipped under the radar" for six years.

"Numerous times I have been prescribed antipsychotic medications and told to 'deal with my anxiety' [and] that I am a 'hypochondriac'."

She wrote that she hasn't been able to operate her business due to her declining health.

"I am not who I used to be anymore. I look different because the overproduction of hormones has changed my face and body shape."

The Givealittle page says she has ongoing rehabilitation and medical expenses, and will soon undergo surgery to have her tumour removed. The page has so far raised more than $1400. 

"Looking back, this diagnosis has been a true blessing in disguise," the page says.