NEVER ignore strange symptoms is the message Suzie Smith wants everyone to take home from her story.
The then 32-year-old had spent months ignoring warning signs and asserting herself even though she didn’t feel quite right.
She was happier believing she had an intolerance, or agreed with the doctors who diagnosed her with hemorrhoids — because it’s “easier to believe than cancer.”
But the Londoner was stunned when she finally found out she had colon cancer and was now halfway through the grueling treatment.
The events manager told The Sun she believes she had symptoms for around 18 months before the cancer was discovered last September.
Suzie said: “I had symptoms, I didn’t know what they were.
“I had blood in my stools, I went to the bathroom six times a day, which isn’t healthy, although I told myself it was probably really healthy.
“I think that’s the great thing about colon cancer – it’s a cancer that can be cured, but it’s one that can lie there for quite a long time before it’s diagnosed.
“I now had to endure six rounds of chemo and 25 rounds of radiotherapy.
“I was relieved when I found out. It was like, ‘Ok, now I know my body was struggling’.”
Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common type of cancer and the second deadliest in the UK.
The top five symptoms of people who are later diagnosed are blood in the stool, a change in bowel habits, abdominal pain, weight loss, and unexplained fatigue.
Colorectal cancer is treatable and curable, especially when caught early, and it can affect people of all ages.
Suzie added: “It’s not that surprising but it breaks my heart that a lot of young people aren’t being listened to.
“A lot of young people are diagnosed with cancer quite late – you haven’t been listened to, or you’ve had to be seen many times, or you’ve normalized what you’re feeling.
“I know that many young people are dying from this disease and it is simply not knowing the symptoms. Don’t do what I did and stick your head in the sand.”
Knowing the key symptoms and seeing your GP when things don’t feel right can increase the chances of an early diagnosis.
It’s something Suzie is passionate about and wants everyone to do, even if they have the slightest concern that something is wrong.
She said: “My advice would be if you feel anything changing – how your body is reacting to food, if you see blood, if you’re feeling very down – listen to the symptoms and go to the doctor.
“I think that’s something to be really clear about.
“Especially as a young person you have to go in there and really know that something is wrong with you and you deserve answers.
“If you still have symptoms, go back.
“I think doctors see young people who are very energetic and they don’t think it could be cancer, which is a very big mistake because if I caught it early I would consider a lot less treatment. “
This has compelled her to share her story and ensure young people are aware of the warning signs and are pressing for help.
She said of the Suzie, who had just been diagnosed, “I think when I remember that girl there was such a hunger that people learn from my mistakes.”
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https://www.thesun.ie/health/8701143/warning-dont-ignore-cancer-symptoms/ I told myself that having hemorrhoids was easier than facing the terrifying reality