Doctors missed dad-of-two’s stage four bowel cancer ‘because he was only 38’

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A dad-of-two who was first told he had a stomach ulcer or colic turned out to have stage four bowel cancer.

Mark Newberry says he was told by a GP that the cancer was initially missed because he was “only 38”, despite his grandfather having died from it, reports the Mirror.

In the days leading up to his diagnosis, Mark, who is dad to Thomas, now 13, and Olivia, now nine, visited an out of hours service and his GP twice and cancer was never even considered.

He said: “I had been having irregular bowel movements for a few months but didn’t think much about it. But in the week leading up to my diagnosis, I had bad stomach pains, was unable to keep any food down and felt lethargic.



Mark Newberry was shocked to find out he had bowel cancer
Mark was shocked to find out he had bowel cancer

“I went to an out of hours clinic at the end of November 2017, where I was told I had a stomach ulcer. I saw my GP the next day, who told me it was colic, then two days later I visited the same practice where I was told the same again.

“But that evening, my wife Sophie forced me to go to A&E as I was in so much pain. I had an X-ray and was kept in hospital overnight.”

Two days later the shock news that he had an aggressive cancer and was rushed for an emergency operation.

In the next six months, he had eight rounds of chemotherapy and suffered some of the nasty side effects, including sensitivity to cold and tingling in his hands.

Concerned about his initial missed diagnosis, Mark, who is from Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, asked his GP why it had happened.

“I was told that it wouldn’t have even been on their radar that I had bowel cancer because I was only 38,” he said.

Mark, who is now 41, admitted it was “a lot to get my head round” and cancer had “never cross my mind” – though it had blocked his bowel and was quickly spreading.

Genevieve Edwards, chief executive at Bowel Cancer UK, said: “It’s incredibly concerning that doctors continue to rule out the disease for people who visit with classic red flag symptoms, telling them they’re too young to have bowel cancer.”

Symptoms which should be investigated include bleeding from your bottom and/or blood in your poo. Also, a persistent and unexplained change in bowel habit, unexplained weight loss, extreme tiredness for no obvious reason, and a pain or lump in your stomach.

Ms Edwards added: “Nobody should be told they don’t have bowel cancer based only on their age, and referrals for further investigation should be made as soon as possible.

“Bowel cancer is the second biggest cancer killer in the UK, but it’s treatable and curable, especially when diagnosed early. It’s vital that people can recognise the signs of bowel cancer and know it isn’t a disease which only affects older people.”



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