(Picture: The Scotsman / SWNS)A mum has spoken out about major health issues being dismissed by doctors, after a GP suggested her terminal cancer was probably irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Linzi Page, 36, went to her doctor last January complaining of blood in her stools and changes in her bowel movements.
The mum-of-two says the GP was ‘very dismissive’, stating she probably had IBS. Linzi did a blood test and offered a stool sample, but the results showed no abnormalities.
Dr Chris McKenna, medical director of NHS Fife, said: ‘We are unable to comment on the care of individual patients for reasons of confidentiality.’
Three months later the issues hadn’t gone away, so Linzi went back to see a doctor from the Burntisland Medical Group in Fife. This time around she was sent for an urgent colonoscopy.
A few days later Linzi was told she had stage four metastatic bowel cancer. She has been given just two years left to live.
(Picture: The Scotsman / SWNS)Linzi said: ‘Probably typical of everyone who is at a young age, the doctor was very dismissive.
‘They said ‘it’s probably IBS’ – then they did the routine blood test and took a stool sample, then it was all forgotten about
‘I just knew myself that something wasn’t right.
‘I still had bleeding, there was too much blood and I was the one who pushed for further tests.
‘I went back to my GP in April and told them ‘this just doesn’t feel right at all and I just don’t buy that it’s IBS’.
‘I naively thought that it couldn’t be cancer as nothing had ever been mentioned by the medical professionals.
‘I didn’t in a million years expect the results to come back showing bowel cancer.
Symptoms of bowel cancer:
Symptoms of bowel cancer include:
a persistent change in bowel movements – going more often, with looser stools and sometimes abdominal pain
blood in the stools
abdominal pain, discomfort, or bloating always brought on by eating
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms for a prolonged period of time, speak to your GP.
‘I was absolutely devastated when they took me into a little side room by myself to tell me – it’s not what I expected at all.’
Linzi is now fundraising £22,000 to pay for an intravenous treatment that’s not available on the NHS in Scotland, called Avastin. The cycles of the drug cost £2,200, and Linzi and her husband Mark hope they will help extend her life.
So far the mum has raised £11,950, and will begin her treatment in April.
‘My frustration is with the doctors, it doesn’t enter their head – if you’re young they just think it’s IBS, that’s their first reaction,’ said Linzi.
‘They never consider the possibility that it could be bowel cancer and decide to send you for a colonoscopy.
‘If I went when I was 60 they would have sent me for a colonoscopy right away, but when I presented these symptoms at age 35 that’s not the doctors initial reaction.
‘Unfortunately, by the time younger people do get diagnosed because we go through the process – it’s too late for us.
‘I literally cannot think about my situation day-to-day, it’s like I’m talking about myself in the third person.
‘If I do think about it I will get very depressed and part of cancer is the mental battle to keep yourself going.
‘So I just can’t think about it as I want to spend as much time with my kids as I can.
‘I want my children to know I’ve done everything I can to be with them for as long as possible. It really is so much more special the time I’ve got with them.’
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