I'm a mum-of-two and begged doctors to refer me for five years - now I've got terminal bowel cancer

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Lawyers are now investigating whether more could have been done for Rebecca Gibson.

A mum-of-two has been diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer - five years after first visiting the GP about her symptoms. Rebecca Gibson, 36, first started bleeding in 2018 but after an examination, was told she just had a polyp and there was nothing to be concerned about.

She continued to contact her GP about her symptoms but was told that she could have internal piles. Rebecca then started suffering from severe stomach pain, sulphur-smelling burps and tiredness and underwent a colonoscopy in January last year.

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Doctors then discovered that Rebecca, who has been with partner Wayne for 19 years, had a 10cm tumour and stage four cancer - which has left her 'devastated.'

Rebecca Gibson in hospital. Rebecca Gibson in hospital.
Rebecca Gibson in hospital. | Irwin Mitchell / SWNS

Rebecca said: "I was concerned and didn’t feel supported by the GPs, but I just trusted if they weren’t concerned then it must have been okay. However, by the autumn of 2022 I really knew something wasn’t right.

"I kept flagging my symptoms and concerns and pushing for an urgent coloscopy. I’d been begging for years but not once had I been referred. By the time of my colonoscopy I knew it was cancer.

"However, to be told that they had found a 10cm tumour that had perforated my bowel and had spread was absolutely devastating. Despite everything nothing prepared me for that moment. I found it difficult to accept and immediately thought about how long I’d been having issues and whether the cancer could have been diagnosed earlier."

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Rebecca, from Wythenshawe, was initially told her cancer was inoperable but started chemotherapy. However surgeons removed the tumour and Rebecca's ovaries, as the cancer had spread, last summer. But following further tests, Rebecca was told the cancer in her liver had grown and at the start of this year, was informed it had spread to her right lung.

Rebecca Gibson with partner Wayne and son AlfieRebecca Gibson with partner Wayne and son Alfie
Rebecca Gibson with partner Wayne and son Alfie | Irwin Mitchell / SWNS

Rebecca, who is mum to Kalem, 17, and Alfie, three, said: "Since my diagnosis every aspect of my life has changed. I’ve lost my identity. My appearance is something which has massively impacted me.

"I’m constantly exhausted and spend most days lying on the couch as I’m in so much pain and physically can’t get myself up. Before my diagnosis, I was active and enjoyed cycling, swimming, walking the dog. I had a successful job and a career plan and enjoyed family holidays, while Wayne has gone from being my partner to my carer."

Rebecca has had palliative chemotherapy but as it hasn't had much effect, her family have sent up a Go Fund Me page to fund a drug that's not available on the NHS.

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The former social worker, said: "The support I’ve had from my family and friends has been amazing. I’m so grateful to them for everything they do but it’s difficult not to think about the future and what it may hold.

"I’m trying to stay strong and meet my cancer head on, but I’m aware I’m running out of options. I’m looking into treatments that aren’t available on the NHS as I want to do absolutely everything I can to be with my family for as long as I can."

Rebecca Gibson with partner Wayne and sons Kalem and Alfie. Rebecca Gibson with partner Wayne and sons Kalem and Alfie.
Rebecca Gibson with partner Wayne and sons Kalem and Alfie. | Irwin Mitchell / SWNS

Rebecca has now instructed lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate whether more could have been done to diagnose her cancer sooner. Specialist medical negligence lawyer Shahin Master hopes to provide Rebecca with 'the answers she deserves.'

She said: “Rebecca’s diagnosis has come as a devastating blow to her and her family. They’re all struggling to come to terms with what it may mean for their future.

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“Understandably Rebecca has serious concerns about her care, especially given the number of medical appointments she had in which she raised her concerns. While nothing can make up for what she and her loved ones are going through, we’re determined to support them and provide Rebecca with the answers she deserves.

“While often associated with over 50s, bowel cancer can affect anyone of any age. However, the disease is treatable and curable if diagnosed early. Therefore, we join Rebecca is urging everyone to be aware of the signs of symptoms of bowel cancer. While Rebecca has concerns about what happened to her, it’s vital people continue to seek medical help as soon as possible."

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