- Cancer is rare between the ages of 20 and 30, and doctors may dismiss the symptoms as more common ailments.
- Young women can also be vulnerable to manipulation and are led to believe that the symptoms are in their heads.
- Four young women with cancer shared how doctors first told them they were “too young” for cancer.
About 5% of all cancers are diagnosed in people between the ages of 20 and 30, according to the American Cancer Society.
Young women may be especially prone to medical gas light, the experts sayor when doctors dismiss symptoms as being in the patient’s head, leading to missed or delayed diagnoses and inappropriate treatments.
These are the stories of three people in their 20s and 30s who said their cancer symptoms were not taken seriously because of their age.
A 28-year-old woman with severe pain and diarrhea said she was denied a colonoscopy
Over the course of about a year, Ashley Teague lost about 25 pounds for no clear reason. She had also suffered severe and unexplained flank pain while working, she had diarrhea up to seven times a day and had blood in her stool.
But the doctors dismissed his symptoms as irritable bowel syndrome, telling the 28 year old photographer and mom in Indianapolis that she “appeared healthy” and was “too young” for a colonoscopy.
It wasn’t until Teague told doctors she had a family history of colon cancer that they scheduled her for a colonoscopy. She found out that she had colorectal cancer and underwent surgery to remove more than four and a half feet of her five foot colon.
Colon cancer is on the rise among young people but is still sometimes ignored, said Dr. David Greenwald, a professor of medicine and gastroenterology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, previously told Insider.
“It is very clear that signs and symptoms that could indicate colorectal cancer in people under the age of 50, and particularly rectal bleeding, should be evaluated by a health professional immediately and not dismissed as ‘just hemorrhoids’ or ‘normal’.” , said.
A 29-year-old’s racing heart was ruled out as anxiety
Katie Coleman knew something was wrong: she had high blood pressure and a racing heart, despite being 29 years old with no previous health problems.
But she said eight doctors dismissed her complaints as anxiety and prescribed anti-anxiety medication. “Two doctors told me she was too young for cancer when I asked them. She made me feel like a hypochondriac,” Coleman, a software developer in Austin, Texas, he told Today.com.
Coleman had even tried to ease her symptoms by losing 50 pounds by walking every day and eating right, but that only made the mass on her abdomen more visible. Eventually, Coleman underwent an ultrasound and CT scan, and learned that he had a nearly 5-inch mass in his kidney and multiple tumors in his liver. Inside information reported.
“I almost felt a sense of relief because for once I had someone sitting across from me who believed me and there was a reason I felt terrible,” he told Today.
Coleman underwent various treatments, including surgery, and was still monitoring his liver when he shared his story in May.
A 23-year-old said her cancer symptom was dismissed as “just a cough”
When Chloe Girardier’s cough wouldn’t go away, she made an appointment with the doctor and was denied.
“They kept telling me I wasn’t eligible for an urgent appointment because I just had a cough,” Girardier, then a 23-year-old home health worker in the UK, said, according to Sun.
Eventually, Girardier said, she was given antibiotics, inhalers and acid reflux tablets, but her symptoms didn’t change. Girardier also began to lose weight.
After five months and seven medical appointments, Girardier said he insisted on getting a chest X-ray. The scan revealed a 4.25-inch mass on his chest that turned out to be Hodgkin lymphoma. She was scheduled to undergo chemotherapy last December.
“I can’t believe it hasn’t been investigated further and if I hadn’t pushed for a chest X-ray, I may still not have a diagnosis,” he said. “It has gone on for so long because of my age.”