This young mother's tragic story proves you're never 'too young' to get bowel cancer
Most of us are lucky enough to never have had health scares when we're younger. Disease and life-threatening illnesses are something that many of us don't concern ourselves with, thinking that's something we might only be confronted with well after reaching middle age.
But that wasn't the case for young mother-of-three Nicole Yarran from Western Australia, who died a few months ago from bowel cancer. She was only 32.
"Nicole’s story began in 2014/2015, she had been feeling unwell and was losing weight dramatically, was constantly bloated and constipated and had blood in her stools," her mother Kathy Narrier told Unilad.
"She had raised her concerns with her GP and was told simply that she was ‘too young for bowel cancer’, and was diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome, IBS.
"Nicole sourced another doctor at the same practice and her opinion was that Nicole was suffering from celiac, neither doctor performed any tests, no ultrasound or blood tests."
After both doctors brushed Nicole's symptoms off as nothing serious, she fell pregnant with her third daughter while still in pain and constantly feeling sick and bloated. It was only when she went to have an ultrasound for her pregnancy that doctors discovered an alarming amount of eight "golf ball-sized" tumours on her liver.
After hearing the news, she went to a specialist in Perth who told her on Christmas Eve of 2015 that she had metastatic colorectal cancer – bowel cancer that had spread in her case to her liver. It was diagnosed as terminal, and her treatment started only three days later.
Although Nicole managed to give birth to Alavi, the mother-of-three died aged 32 in a palliative care unit after battling both stage four cancers in August this year. With the words of her GP saying she was "too young for bowel cancer" in mind, Nicole's last wish was to raise awareness that anyone – old and young – could be at risk of getting the disease.
"If the Doctor had only listened to her symptoms and requested a stool sample or full blood count, at least they would have found it in 2014, because it was the pregnancy that aspirated the cancer, it literally fed the tumours," Kathy tragically revealed.
She is now taking on Nicole's dying plea to raise awareness about the reality of young people getting the disease.
"I only ask that Nicole’s story is one that highlights the importance for any practitioner to respect the opinions of your patients, that just for once think outside the statistics or written theory that guide your head and listen to what your gut tells you, because more than often, its the first initial gut instinct that is can prevent the negative outcome, and could prevent the death of a loved one."
"I am asking for help to share Nicole’s story so that other young women and men that know their bodies and know that there is something wrong. Fight to continually ask for further tests, ask for a second opinions because if you don’t it could literally cost you your life, and no family needs to suffer the heartache of losing a young member of their family."
During her almost two years of treatment, Nicole missed out on watching her young daughters grow: "Nicole realised she wouldn’t see Aaylah, who’s five, and Alavis who is 18 months old, attend their first day of school, or Alkeres first day of secondary school, nor see any of them graduate, or enter into their careers or further studies."
"Just the little things that we all take for granted, my granddaughters will now miss out on celebrating their milestones with the most important person of their lives, their mother."
It's a heart-breaking story, but one that has already made many people aware that you're never "too young" to be at risk of such diseases.