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Cancer misdiagnosis - Stacy's story

My advice to anybody who’s got any concerns about their body, is that you have to, you have to trust your body, you have to listen to your body. – Stacy Cuthbert
My name’s Stacy Cuthbert, I’m 37 years old and I’ve got stage 4 bowel cancer.

Before my diagnosis I was healthy, I used to run, go to the gym, swim, life was good.

I first started feeling unwell in about 2013, when I experienced a bloody stool, I went to the doctor, she did a number of tests and at that point you know everything was kind of deemed to be okay, normal.

So, I went back to the GP a number of times over several years, my symptoms progressed to actually quite profuse bleeding. They didn’t seem concerned that this was something serious and I think at certain times I was made to feel like actually bleeding, that can be quite normal actually and that wasn’t my understanding at all so yeah.

Eventually in 2016 my symptoms were too bad, they were affecting my life too much and I insisted on a referral to a consultant and he said that I needed immediate investigations and he arranged for a colonoscopy for me a week later and it was following the colonoscopy that I was told that what he’d found was cancer and he was about 99% sure of that. 

So since then it’s been yeah quite a long road of treatment, so I started off by having chemo-radiation and then I went on to have a bowel resection, I had a stoma and then I got the kind of all clear in December 2017, went back to work you know started to try to get my life back together, it was found in June that the cancer had come back, it had come back in my back. 

So, at the moment we know that the cancer has spread to my bones, we think it's in my lungs, and we think it’s in the lining of my brain a little bit as well.

So, since then I’ve had more chemotherapy, I’ve also had some stereotactic radiotherapy on the tumour in my back, that worked really well initially, then it came back again and caused me a lot of pain.

It’s turned my life upside down completely; I can’t really think of any part of my life that hasn’t been affected by it. You know it’s affected my relationships, I can no longer have children, I’m not fit and healthy anymore, I can’t run, I struggle to walk around the park, I’ve been told I can no longer drive, it puts a strain on everybody, you know my friends, my family and to live with this you know it’s a constant shadow, it’s a constant cloud over everything.  

It’s been I think more difficult having it at such a young age, I think to get bowel cancer at 34 is so rare and you can be very very unwell, as I am, and actually not appear to be unwell and there needs to be much greater understanding of that.

So, I don’t know what the future holds for me and that’s quite scary, but I have to have hope and I do have hope and you know take one day at a time and go from there really, yeah.

My advice to anybody who’s got any concerns about their body, is that you have to, you have to trust your body, you have to listen to your body. 

Bowel cancer although it is rare in younger people it does happen, it happened to me, it can happen to other people, I wouldn’t want anybody else to have to go thought what I have been through and so if you have got any concerns at all, anything doesn’t feel right, then I would encourage you to keep pushing for answers and don’t stop until you get them. 

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