LIFESTYLE
16/06/2015 11:43 BST | Updated 16/06/2015 11:59 BST

Woman Diagnosed With Bowel Cancer In Her 20s, After Being Misdiagnosed For Two Years. Now She Wants Young Patients To Be Taken Seriously

At the age of 22, Anna Flood visited her GP complaining of extreme fatigue.

But she says it wasn't until two years later, after multiple trips to the doctor, that her symptoms were diagnosed as bowel cancer.

Now at the age of 28, the Exeter University graduate is calling for more to be done to diagnose and treat young people with bowel cancer sooner.

She's just one of the cancer survivors who features in Bowel Cancer UK's latest video for their ongoing Never Too Young campaign.

"I didn't take my symptoms seriously and put it down to having a busy lifestyle," she says in the video above. "It was definitely a shock to be diagnosed."

anna flood

Flood suffers from Lynch syndrome - an inherited gene fault or mutation that increases an individual's bowel cancer risk.

When she began suffering from fatigue, weight loss and bowel problems in 2008, she didn't know there was a history of the condition on her dad's side of the family.

She persistently visited her doctor, but says she didn't feel she was being taken seriously.

"It wasn't until I was taken to A&E by my mum that things really started moving really quickly. The way I was treated in hospital was brilliant - you couldn't fault it," she said, according to ITV news.

"They did lots of tests, did it all really quickly, operated quickly. Whereas when I went to the GP feeling really, really ill, I felt, not fobbed off, but as though they weren't really taking me seriously."

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Flood was eventually diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2010 at the age of 24, two years after she spotted the warning signs. She underwent successful treatment and hopes to receive the all-clear in her upcoming five year scan.

Unfortunately, Flood's story isn't unique. According to a recent survey of patients under the age of 50 from Bowel Cancer UK, one in five people had to see their GP five times or more before being referred to a specialist.

One in four people surveyed felt ignored by their GP, while half of younger patients were not offered genetic testing for them or their families.

Awareness about bowel cancer among people under the age of 50 was also shown to be lacking. Four out of five people in this age category were not aware that they could be at risk of bowel cancer at their age.

Flood said: "There needs to be more work done to make it less of a stigma, less embarrassing for young people to talk about these things."

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