YOU'RE too young for cancer, are words that will always haunt Beth Hewitt.
The 35-year-old had been "back and forth" with her doctor over eight months after spotting blood in her poo.
But her GP told her it was piles and prescribed the mum-of-two a haemorrhoid cream last summer.
Beth, from Hereford, was certain it was more serious and after securing a private referral, scans confirmed she had stage 2 bowel cancer.
She had surgery to remove the tumour in April – and her cancer has been downgraded – but she is urging people not to be complacent.
Beth, an occupational therapist, told BBC Online: "I would urge anybody if they're having any kind of symptoms to be going to your GP and not accepting no.
"I think I went back to (my GP) about five or six times… they were just saying, 'no you're too young for anything like cancer'."
She added: "I'd think 'they're going to think I'm a bit mad because I'm worrying about nothing'."
Never too young
Research recently revealed the rates of bowel cancer in young people have surged.
If the alarming trend continues, experts say the UK will have to screen at a lower age, to detect more cases at an earlier stage.
In England and Wales, everyone over the age of 60 is currently invited to have bowel cancer screening tests every two years. In Scotland screening starts at 50.
That's why The Sun launched the No Time 2 Lose campaign – to call on the Government to end the postcode lottery and lower the screening age to 50.
Bowel cancer is the second deadliest cancer in the UK, however, it can be cured if it's caught early enough through early diagnosis, which is why screening is so important.
It's a move Beth believes may have helped catch her cancer sooner.
Know the signs
Beth first noticed blood in her poo – one of the early signs of bowel cancer – in the summer of 2018.
She said: "It was persistent, it would stop for about a week and then after a week it would carry on again."
Despite having no other symptoms associated with bowel cancer, the mum became worried that it was an indicator of something serious.
But her doctor kept telling her it wouldn't be cancer, she said.
She eventually managed to get a referral to see a private consultant who carried out a colonoscopy and scans to confirm the diagnosis.
Beth was told she needed around 18cm (7in) of her bowel removed to stop the cancer spreading and a temporary stoma bag fitted.
Tests revealed the surgery was a success and no further treatment was needed, she said.
It's not stopped her going to the gym and Beth has even been doing "burpees and box jumps".
She's due to have her stoma bag removed tomorrow.
Hereford Medical Group, which runs two of the surgeries Beth visited, refused to comment.
A spokesperson did say however: "If any patient has concerns about an initial diagnosis or if symptoms persist, return following treatment, or change, we would urge them to contact their GP to arrange a further appointment."
Dr Lisa Wilde, director of research and external affairs at Bowel Cancer UK said: “We are sorry to hear about Beth’s diagnosis.
"Although the disease is more common in the over 50’s, it can affect people at any age.
"Every year in the UK over 2,500 younger people, like Beth, are diagnosed.
The 6 ways you can prevent bowel cancer
IT'S the second deadliest cancer in the UK but it can be prevented.
A few simple lifestyle changes can help stop bowel cancer striking in the first place.
- Get screened – if you are eligible, don't delay, book your screening test as soon as you get the letter
- Stop smoking – around 8 per cent of bowel cancer cases are linked to smoking
- Cut back on the booze – sticking to the recommended 14 units a week, that's six pints or 10 small glasses of wine, reduces your risk
- Get moving – aim to do 30 minutes of exercise a day
- Eat well – up your fibre intake, it's vital to keep your bowels moving and there's evidence to suggest cutting back on red meat helps
- Drugs work – there's no magic pill, but there is evidence to suggest a daily dose of aspirin lowers the risk of polyps, a precursor to bowel cancer
"Bowel cancer is the UK’s second biggest killer, however it shouldn’t be because it is treatable and curable especially if diagnosed early.
"Being aware of the symptoms and visiting your GP if things don’t feel right can help increase chances of an early diagnosis.
"Your doctor sees people with bowel concerns every day so there is nothing to be embarrassed about. It could save your life.”
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