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40-year-old mum told by doctors she ‘had IBS’ before tragically dying of bowel cancer

Kya Buller

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| Last updated 

40-year-old mum told by doctors she ‘had IBS’ before tragically dying of bowel cancer

Featured Image Credit: Family handout/Irwin Mitchell

Helen Dutton, a mum-of-one from Droylesden in Manchester, spent two years visiting her GP with complaints of abdominal cramps and bleeding. Her search for help was dismissed by health professionals, with Dutton simply being told that her symptoms were indicative of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

She was sent for blood tests which revealed a low B12 count but nothing more serious was reported and the issue wasn’t pursued any further by those in charge of Dutton’s care.

By the time 2018 came around for Dutton, her health problems hadn’t subsided so she painstakingly sought medical help once again for ongoing bowel issues and bloating.

After being referred for a colonoscopy, the entire family was sent into a state of deep sadness and shock. Tests revealed Dutton had in fact been living with a tumour, and she was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2019.

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Her family are still fighting for answers to their ‘unanswered questions’. Credit: Family handout/Irwin Mitchell
Her family are still fighting for answers to their ‘unanswered questions’. Credit: Family handout/Irwin Mitchell

Dutton began treatment immediately, undergoing rounds of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and was left with a permanent stoma.

While Dutton was able to beat cancer once, tragically, just one year later it returned, and in August 2021 she passed away at the age of 40.

Her partner Darren Rosheski, and daughter Lili-Mai, now 17, were left completely devastated but have resolved not to allow her death to be in vain.

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Today, her family are still fighting for answers to their ‘unanswered questions’ surrounding their heartbreaking loss, as they believe Dutton could have survived had her complaints been taken much more seriously in the beginning, which would have crucially led to the disease being found earlier.

Following her diagnosis, brave Dutton instructed lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the care she had been given and determine whether anything could have been done to identify the disease earlier.

Early detection and treatment is key to beating this disease. Credit: Family handout/Irwin Mitchell
Early detection and treatment is key to beating this disease. Credit: Family handout/Irwin Mitchell

Following her death, her partner Rosheski has vowed to continue her case.

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He said: “Our beloved Helen was taken from us far too soon. She was the best mum to Lilli-Mai and to see our daughter having to navigate through life without her mum is heart-breaking.”

He continued: “We have so many unanswered questions and while we would give anything to have Helen back, we know that’s not possible. All we can hope for now is that by sharing our story, we can raise awareness of bowel cancer and its symptoms.

“Watching Helen suffer towards the end was unbearable and catching the disease early could be the difference between life and death. If we can save another person by speaking out, it will have been worth it."

Continuing the case is crucial for Dutton’s family to help them come to terms with losing her so suddenly and prematurely.

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Helen Dutton's family were left completely devastated. Credit: Family handout/Irwin Mitchell
Helen Dutton's family were left completely devastated. Credit: Family handout/Irwin Mitchell

One of their lawyers, Nicola Ashton, commented: “The last two-and-a-half years have been incredibly difficult for Helen’s loved ones, particularly Darren and their daughter Lilli-Mai, who have understandably been struggling to come to terms with losing their mum and partner at such a young age.”

They confirmed they were working diligently to uncover whether anything could have been done in order to help her or give her a more prompt diagnosis.

“Early detection and treatment is key to beating this disease”, the lawyer concluded.

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Know the signs of bowel cancer. The NHS advises the symptoms may include changes in your bowel movements, blood after you go to the toilet, tummy pain/a lump in your tummy, losing weight without trying and feeling very tired for no obvious reason.

Topics: Health, Life, NHS

Kya Buller
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