Nicole Yarran, a 32-year-old mum from Perth, died in September after a routine scan picked up bowel cancer that had spread to her liver.
On a crowdfunding page set up in January 2016 to help her and her family with ever-increasing costs, Nicole was described as “a young proud Noongar woman … with two beautiful daughters” and a third child on the way. Her mother Kathy Narrier told ABC News that despite Nicole’s suspicions that something was terribly wrong, a doctor told her she was “too young” for bowel cancer.
“She told him the symptoms, that she had bleeding from the bowel. He boiled it down to irritable bowel syndrome and kept giving her medication for that. They wouldn’t do the stool test, no colonoscopy or nothing. They just said that she was too young.”
While bowel cancer is most common in those over the age of 50, the number of young people getting bowel cancer has been increasing, and there is evidence that it can be more aggressive in younger victims.
Colorectal surgeon Dr Graham Newstead told ABC, “We’re seeing younger people with bowel cancer whereas in the past, when I was a medical student, it was a disease for people well over their 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s.”
“In the US, there are some 14 per cent of people with bowel cancer who are under 50.”
Nicole’s mother told ABC that her daughter’s last request was that her death would help make young people aware that they could get the disease too.
“If you know your body and you know something’s wrong, don’t take their word. Continually ask them to do something about it,” Ms Narrier said.
You can donate to help Nicole’s family here.
This article originally appeared on Marie Claire.
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