Woman's heartbreaking diagnosis after GP was '100% sure she had IBS'

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Stacey Cochrane pictured with her husband Kenneth (Image: dailyrecord)
Stacey Cochrane pictured with her husband Kenneth (Image: dailyrecord)

A woman was diagnosed with stomach cancer after her GP repeatedly assured her that her symptoms were a sign of irritable bowel syndrome.

Stacey Cochrane received the heartbreaking diagnosis at the age of 36 after developing severe abdominal pain for two months.

She was admitted to A&E at Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland, on August 6 and doctors gave her morphine to treat her pain, before telling her she could go home four hours later.

The woman was due to go on holiday in Bulgaria with her husband Kenneth that week and medics said she was fit to fly.

However, she was poorly and had several symptoms, as she told the Daily Record: "I had been having problems with stomach pain for about five years without ever really knowing what the issue was. But it got so bad this year that I was admitted to A&E on August 6.

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Woman's heartbreaking diagnosis after GP was '100% sure she had IBS'The couple married in 2021 (dailyrecord)

"I was checked over and given some morphine. Four hours later, I was told I was okay to go home.

"I was going on holiday that week, so I asked if I was definitely fit to fly, but they gave me the all-clear and said just to keep away from dairy products. Then I was poorly the whole five days we were in Bulgaria with severe diarrhoea and vomiting."

Stacey said she attended several appointments with her GP after her A&E trip in early August, and claimed that her doctor told her on August 26 that her symptoms were linked to IBS.

She added: "The GP assured me he was 100 per cent certain that it was IBS, but I do remember asking how he could know that for certain without a scan.

"Then on September 21, I ended up phoning 999 through the night with more stomach pain and vomiting. A paramedic came out to the house and then admitted me to hospital.

"By now I knew something was seriously wrong. I couldn't even keep water down. So I literally begged for a CT scan.

"Later that night, I was diagnosed with cancer."

Woman's heartbreaking diagnosis after GP was '100% sure she had IBS'Stacey and Kenneth on their wedding day last summer (dailyrecord)

Stacey's heartbreaking diagnosis revealed that she had Stage 4 stomach cancer that had spread to her ovaries.

Two tumours measuring 22 and 15cm were found on her left ovary - which were pushing on her stomach and causing her pain.

Tragically, she was told on November 3 that her cancer was incurable. Since then, she has started chemotherapy treatment.

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Stacey continued: "It may sound strange but it was actually a relief to get a diagnosis because I just wanted to know what was wrong.

"But then they told me it was incurable and at the moment they can't give me a timeframe on how long I will live.

"Now I just want to speak up and tell people they need to listen to their own bodies. Don't give up if you know something is wrong.

"If saying that means I can maybe save someone else's life, it's worth it."

Stacey has made a complaint to NHS Fife, adding: "The staff are trying their best but the NHS is not getting enough funding."

NHS Fife Director of Nursing, Janette Keenan, said: "Being given a diagnosis of cancer is incredibly distressing news, not just for the individual but for their families and loved ones as well.

"Unfortunately, for reasons of patient confidentiality we are unable to discuss the care of individual people. However, we would urge the person to get in touch with our patient relations team to discuss their care and explore any concerns they may have."

Stacey has set up a fundraiser to raise money for funeral costs. You can donate here.

Gemma Ryder

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