Student, 23, dies 13 days after colon cancer diagnosis as demand for twins answers

Ryan Brown, 23, had to FaceTime his parents on holiday with the news of his devastating diagnosis – his twin sister Hope is now speaking out to raise awareness

Ryan Brown with twin sister Hope as she tries to raise awareness now
Ryan Brown with twin sister Hope, who is now trying to raise awareness after he died of colon cancer

A university student died just 13 days after being diagnosed with colon cancer as his family angered at the “careless lack of care”.

Ryan Brown, 23, FaceTimed his parents on vacation to share the news of his devastating diagnosis.

His twin sister Hope was with him when he received the stage four cancer diagnosis and has since said he should have been diagnosed much earlier.

Ryan has had ulcerative colitis since he was 12 and his family says he should have been tested more regularly as those with the inflammatory condition are at increased risk of developing cancer. The Daily Record reports.

Ryan died just 13 days after being diagnosed with colon cancer



Ryan was just weeks away from graduating from university when doctors found a 15 x 12 cm mass in his intestines after vomiting faeces, with further evidence of the disease in his liver and lymph nodes.

Hope is now speaking out to raise awareness about ulcerative colitis while branding Ryan’s lack of testing as “complete neglect”.

She said: “We want answers. We want to know why Ryan wasn’t treated right.

From left: dad Daryl Brown, Hope, Ryan and mom Carol Ann



“Ryan called me on May 1st and asked me to go to the hospital because they wanted a family member to come.

“Our mum and dad were actually in Tenerife at the time so we had them on a FaceTime call.

“We thought we wanted to discuss an operation where he might have an ostomy bag.

“So I went in and they told us Ryan has cancer.”

Speaking about the moment they received the devastating diagnosis, Holly recalled: “The surgeon we spoke to totally downplayed it.

“He found out it was just a little bit of cancer and he would have chemotherapy and surgery to remove it.

“We didn’t think it sounded too serious.

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On Ryan’s progress, Hope added, “On Monday, May 9th, my mom seemed to have some sort of sixth sense and turned to one of the nurses and said, ‘Ryan’s too sick for chemotherapy, isn’t he?’

“She asked if they ever planned to tell us.

“But basically no one wanted to tell us that because of their age and they didn’t want to upset us.”

She added: “He died at 1am on May 14 – 13 days after his diagnosis. He didn’t even have a chance.

“I just feel like it shouldn’t have happened. I’m so upset about this.

“This is my twin brother and I lost him.”

Ryan suffered a painful flare-up in February last year but was unable to get an in-person appointment due to the pandemic.

He continued to suffer from severe headaches and abdominal pain that caused him to bend over in pain, but was prescribed steroids without additional testing.

His family claims he made 17 calls to specialist IBD nurses between February and April as he continued trying to get help.

Hope believes there were several missed opportunities to diagnose her brother – who made history as part of a liver transplant patient’s first sets of twins.

Hope explained, “In fact, it’s been said that if you’ve had colitis for more than 10 years, you’re more likely to get colon cancer.

“So you would have thought that they would be doing regular testing to monitor and find out. It’s just so frustrating. It’s total neglect.”

Mum Carol Ann and dad Daryl are planning to make a formal complaint to NHS Lanarkshire, while sister Hope will receive his Electrical and Electronics Engineering degree with honors on his behalf.

NHS guidelines say patients with ulcerative colitis are at a higher risk of developing colon cancer – with the risk increasing over the years.

People should have regular check-ups — colonoscopies — to look for signs of cancer about 10 years after the first onset of symptoms.

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The frequency of testing should increase the longer a patient lives with the condition – between one and five years – depending on other risk factors, including a family history of cancer.

Russell Coulthard, Deputy Director of Acute Services, said: “Our thoughts and condolences go out to the family at the sad death of this young man.

“We are asking the family to contact our patient affairs team at to offer them the opportunity to raise their concerns directly with us.”

The Mirror contacted NHS Lanarkshire for an explanation.

hope is raising funds for Crohn’s & Colitis UK in memory of her brother.

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