Fife mum told irritable bowel is actually terminal cancer

A Fife mum who was told by her GP that she had Irritable Bowel Syndrome spoke of her horror at learning she had terminal bowel cancer.

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Linzi Page with her children Calan, aged 5, and Charlotte, aged 2.Linzi Page with her children Calan, aged 5, and Charlotte, aged 2.
Linzi Page with her children Calan, aged 5, and Charlotte, aged 2.

Linzi Page (36), of Burntisland, went to her doctor last January complaining of bleeding and changes in her bowel movements.

The mum-of-two was told it was probably Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and a routine blood test was performed and a stool sample taken, which showed nothing irregular.

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Linzi said the GP was “very dismissive”, but three months later she returned to see the doctor.

Another GP from the Burntisland Medical Group sent her for an urgent colonoscopy.

A few days later the project manager, who has two young children, Calan, aged five, and Charlotte, aged two, was told she had stage 4 metastatic bowel cancer.

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Tragically, Linzi was told she has just two years to live – but she believes that her symptoms were dismissed due to her age.

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.

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“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.

“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.”

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Linzi, who is married to husband Mark, is now fundraising to pay for treatment not available on the NHS in Scotland.

She needs to raise £22,000 to pay for intravenous treatment Avastin, in the hope that cycles of the drug, which costs around £2,200 a time, will help prolong her life.

So far she has raised £11,950 and will begin her first treatment in April.

Linzi added: “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.

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“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.

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“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.”

Dr Chris McKenna, medical director of NHS Fife, said: “We are unable to comment on the care of individual patients for reasons of confidentiality.”

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