A “super-fit” 35-year-old woman told by her GP that blood in her stools was caused by piles later found she had bowel cancer.
After eight months “back and forth” to the surgery Beth Hewitt was referred to a consultant, who discovered a tumour.
Mrs Hewitt said GPs told her: “You’re too young for anything like cancer.”
The mother-of-two, from Hereford, had surgery to remove the tumour in April and is urging people to get symptoms checked.
More than 2,500 people under 50 are diagnosed with bowel cancer in the UK every year, according to charity Bowel Cancer UK.
After noticing blood in her stools in the summer of 2018, Mrs Hewitt was first prescribed cream for haemorrhoids.
“It was persistent, it would stop for about a week and then after a week it would carry on again,” she said.
Despite having no other symptoms associated with bowel cancer, as time passed the occupational therapist became worried the blood was an indicator of something more serious.
“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’,” said Mrs Hewitt.
“I’d think ‘they’re going to think I’m a bit mad because I’m worrying about nothing’,” she added.
After securing a private referral Mrs Hewitt had a colonoscopy and scans to confirm the diagnosis, something she described as “a relief”.
About 18cm (7ins) of her bowel was removed during surgery and further investigations revealed no further treatment was required, she said.
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A temporary stoma bag, which is due to be removed on Friday, has not stopped her returning to the gym every day for “burpees and box jumps”.
“I would urge anybody if they’re having any kind of symptoms to be going to your GP and not accepting no,” said Mrs Hewitt.
Hereford Medical Group, which runs two of the surgeries visited by Mrs Hewitt, said it was unable to comment on individual cases relating to patients, but hoped the story would “increase awareness”.
“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,” a spokesperson added.
Bowel Cancer UK also advised people with symptoms to visit their GP early.
“Your doctor sees people with bowel concerns every day so there is nothing to be embarrassed about. It could save your life,” said a spokesperson.
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