Mum urges NHS to offer bowel cancer screenings to people aged 30 after being misdiagnosed due to her age
| Last updated
Featured Image Credit: Deadline News
A mum is petitioning for the government to offer bowel cancer screenings to people over the age of 30, after being misdiagnosed due to her age.
Amy Prowse, 37, from Exeter, was diagnosed with bowel cancer in May this year, but doctors originally put her symptoms down to diverticulitis - a digestive condition that affects the bowel.
“I was diagnosed with bowel cancer aged 37 after being misdiagnosed with diverticulitis," says Amy.
“Misdiagnosis is common in people under 50 because they are considered too young to have bowel cancer and red flags are ignored.
“There is no age limit to bowel cancer. I want to make a difference to make the UK government work with the NHS to consider screening everyone over 30 annually and enabling over 18s to opt into the service as well.
“This will save lives.”
Amy had been experiencing agonising stomach pains last year, which seemed to be increasing in intensity as time went on.
After noticing blood in her stool she went to see her doctor, who ran tests which revealed she was anaemic.
However, when the pain in Amy’s stomach became so severe that she ended up in A&E in March, she was admitted for four days.
She was later diagnosed with diverticulitis which is usually not common in younger people. But months later, during a check-up, she was given the devastating news that she had bowel cancer.
“There are approximately 42,886 cases of bowel cancer each year. Bowel cancer has a 54 percent survival rate, if caught early enough," she says.
“It is considered ‘the smoking, old man’s meat-eating cancer’, which is simply not the case for everybody.
“My doctors have not been able to identify a single reason why I have this cancer and I don’t fit the bill at all. It is possible it has been present for years even though I am ‘too young’ to have it.
“My blood loss and pain was thought to be a gynaecological issue and I was diagnosed with anaemia. Even a perforated bowel didn’t seem to ring alarm bells. Cancer was not a consideration.
“We now know I was losing blood via stools without realising, and a tumour had perforated my bowel, eventually causing excruciating pain."
Amy is now campaigning for the UK government to work alongside the NHS to offer screening to people as young as 30 - instead of the current age of 50.
“Screening could have detected this and I may not have had to have part of my colon removed in emergency surgery and have to live with a stoma," she adds.
“I want it made possible to stop this cancer in its tracks before it gets to my stage or further for anybody else.
“After all, if bowel cancer develops it can also spread to lymph nodes then onto other organs which can be even more devastating.
“Let’s try to prevent more bowel cancer-related deaths in the future by screening adults aged over 30 annually and allowing anyone over 18 to opt in as well.”
You can sign Amy's petition here.