Updated 16 November 2017

Woman dies of cancer three months after wedding – after repeated cancer misdiagnosis

Her last check-up was just a week before tying the knot with the love of her life.


A young Australian woman who was told she was cancer-free just a week before her wedding, tragically died three-months after saying “I do” – and now her family is seeking answers from doctors.

Leah Debono (29) died in January this year of melanoma which had spread to her brain, liver, lungs, spleen, and bones.

Her heartbroken family, including her young widower, claims the Australian medical system has failed them after two different doctors misdiagnosed her, telling her the mole on her arm as “harmless”, when in fact it was melanoma. 

According to 60 Minutes news, her battle with cancer began in 2012 when Leah spotted a red lump under her arm that bled when she bumped it.

Leah, then 25, consulted a few doctors but her parents, Lex and Heather Martin, claim that specialists said she had “nothing to be concerned about”.

Shortly after that she met her husband, Ben Debono. During their courtship in 2013 the blonde beauty decided to have the stubborn lump cosmetically removed. That’s when doctors made a shocking discovery.

“She rang me up and she was all hysterical, she was really upset and worried, you could tell in her voice,” Ben recalls.

“She knew straight away something was wrong.”

Leah was diagnosed with stage four malignant melanoma and had the mole and surrounding lymph nodes removed back in 2013. Although she was cancer-free after that, she was warned that the cancer could return, so she went for regular check-ups in the following years.

Her last check-up was just a week before tying the knot with the love of her life in October 2016. Once again, she was reassured that she was cancer-free.

But the truth that would later emerge was horrifying. As Ben says, “At the time of the wedding she was riddled with cancer. She would’ve had a brain tumour at that stage as well.” 

Things took a turn for the worse about a month after the wedding when Leah started suffering severe headaches and nausea. A doctor attributed her symptoms to “post-wedding stress”.

Weeks later, Leah collapsed at work. “I just remember her looking at me and almost looking through me,” Ben recalls of when he saw her.

“She couldn’t really look, she couldn’t speak, her face was dropped and she had a massive brain tumour.”

Leah passed away in January with Ben by her side, just three months after they were married. “I was holding onto her until the end,” he says.

A few months after her death, Ben sold his house and now travels Australia – something the couple had been dreaming of doing together. As he tries to make sense of his wife’s untimely death, Ben hopes to bring awareness about the dangers of skin cancer.

According to the Daily Mail, an investigation into Leah’s death is still on-going.



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