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'Water infection' student dies of rare form of cancer.

Byline: MARK SMITH Health correspondent

A21.YEAR.OLD student has died from an incredibly rare form of cancer just eight weeks after doctors misdiagnosed her with a water infection.

Alicia Embrey, described as a "clever, kind and caring" young woman, fell ill while studying architecture at Portsmouth University and returned to her family home in Newport.

She was taken to the Royal Gwent Hospital, where it is claimed doctors initially thought she was suffering with a urinary tract infection and she was discharged with a dose of antibiotics.

But Alicia, who was allegedly "doubled up" in pain, needed a second admission to A&E the following day and was later transferred to critical care, when her condition took a turn for the worse.

She was eventually diagnosed with renal medullary carcinoma - an aggressive form of cancer which has only been diagnosed in 57 people globally.

Within two months of the initial diagnosis, and following sessions of chemotherapy, keen kickboxer Alicia died in September 2018.

Her mum, Emma Embrey, from Newport, said she may never come to terms with her daughter's sudden and tragic passing.

"She didn't have a bad bone in her body," Emma said.

"She was so kind and caring that she even looked after more elderly patients when she was on the ward.

"She was loved by everyone." Alicia, a former Newport High School pupil, started noticing blood in her urine and sought treatment while she was in Portsmouth.

But when she started experiencing further pain and ill-health she made the decision to come back to Wales to be with her family.

"I took her to the Royal Gwent Hospital. She had three lots of intravenous antibiotics, but they told her that she'd recover better at home," Emma added.

"The next day it was clear hospital was the best place for her, so we went back.

"They tested her for all sorts. "They made her wear a mask, and within three days she was in critical care.

"Her stomach swelled up, it looked like she was pregnant, and over a month or so she did 12 pregnancy tests."

Alicia was told to visit Velindre Cancer Care, in Cardiff, where she was asked if there was a history of sickle cell in the family.

Doctors informed Emma and Alicia they had found sickling in her liver - unusually shaped groups of red blood cells - and diagnosed her with rare renal medullary carcinoma, which attacks the kidneys.

"When they told me she had cancer I was hysterical and absolutely devastated," Emma added.

"You just don't believe it. She didn't smoke or drink, she was regularly going to the gym and she was eating healthily."

Emma believes that if Alicia's cancer had been caught earlier, she may have stood a chance of survival.

"I feel like her condition was dismissed too easily," she added.

"They should have checked for cancer in the beginning as she was in so much pain."

A spokeswoman for Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, which is responsible for the Royal Gwent Hospital, said: "Our thoughts and sincere condolences are with the family of Miss Embrey at this very sad time.

"We are sorry that her family are unhappy with the care that she received and we would ask them to contact us directly so that we can address their concerns."

A fundraising page has been set up in Alicia's memory by a family friend.

To donate, you can visit


<B Alicia with her mum Emma Embrey

<B Alicia Embrey died of a rare form of cancer in September 2018
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Article Type:Obituary
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 4, 2019
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