A MOTHER-OF-THREE has found herself on 'borrowed time' after it took seven months to diagnose her with cancer - which is now inoperable.

Justine Jianikos, from Pontypool, visited her GP in March last year as she noticed she was showing symptoms of breast cancer. A swab was taken and the issue wasn't investigated further.

Two months later, in May, the 30-year-old noticed a small lump near her breast and her GP referred her to a breast clinic.

She was told it was fatty lump tissue and nothing to fear.

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Justine Jianikos with daughters Josie (left), Halle (middle) and Ruby (right) (Picture: Justine Jianikos)

In September she noticed the lump had changed, with another appearing, so again contacted her GP who referred her to the breast clinic.

Despite it being her second referral, when Ms Jianikos chased up her appointment at the start of October she was told there was a three-month waiting list.

On December 21, just four days before Christmas, her biopsy results confirmed that she has stage four triple negative breast cancer, which has spread to her spine, lymp nodes and - most likely - her lungs.

Justine Jianikos undergoing chemotherapy (Picture: Justine Jianikos)

Justine Jianikos undergoing chemotherapy (Picture: Justine Jianikos)

"It's incurable, so I'm on borrowed time," said Ms Jianikos who is engaged.

"I'm shocked and so angry - in this day and age, with the technology we have, this shouldn't be happening.

"If the dots had been connected sooner my oncologist is confident there would have been a better outcome."

Although the cancer is incurable Ms Jianikos is pursuing life-extending treatment - including immunotherapy which costs around £40,000 - to enjoy what time she has with Josie, aged eight; Halle, aged six; and Ruby, aged five.

Upon sharing her story, the 30-year-old - who wasn't initially given a biopsy as she was 29 at the time - discovered that other people had experienced similar circumstances.

"I felt so lonely, like I was the only person this has happened to but when I read people's comments I realised it's more common than I thought," she added.

"I never imagined this would happen to me and I'm shocked that I allowed it to go on for so long.

"I was reassured that everything was fine but - ultimately - they've given me a death sentence. While I spent a summer - in lockdown - with my daughters the cancer spread.

"Who knows how many summers I have left?

“I had so many plans for my life and they’ve been robbed from me.”

Ms Jianikos hopes that the issue will be fully investigated and may result in changes which could save the lives' of others.

Her friend, Lily Edwards, has set up a GoFundMe page - available here.

Justine with friends Hannah Jeffers (left) and Lily Edwards (right) - Picture: Justine Jianikos

Justine with friends Hannah Jeffers (left) and Lily Edwards (right) - Picture: Justine Jianikos

Plus, her brother Michael Francis is running five marathons in five days to raise money for her treatment. His GoFundMe page is available here.

Justine with her brother Michael Francis (Picture: Justine Jianikos)

Justine with her brother Michael Francis (Picture: Justine Jianikos)

Ms Jianikos' older sister, Amy McCann, said: "She's so young and I’m absolutely devastated - I wish I could take it away, but there’s nothing anyone can do.”

Despite the sad news, Ms Jianikos has been "overwhelmed" by the support and donations received for her and her family.

She said: “There’s been such an outpour of love and support.

“People I’ve not spoken to in years have donated. Strangers have donated their hard-earned money.

“I can’t thank people enough – 2020 was a rubbish year for everyone, but there’s still so many good people."

Her daughters were informed of her ill health on Sunday, February 21.

Ruby, Josie and Halle (Picture: Justine Jianikos)

Ruby, Josie and Halle (Picture: Justine Jianikos)

A spokesman for Aneurin Bevan University Health Board said: “We are sorry to hear that Mrs Jianikos and her family are not happy with the care that she has received.

“We would ask them to contact us directly so that we can investigate her concerns.”