Terminal bowel cancer patient who filled ‘cups with blood’ on the loo was ‘fobbed off by GPs for months’

A BOWEL cancer patient claims she was turned away by GPs for ten months before she was diagnosed – despite “filling cups with blood” when she went to the toilet.
Gemma Epstein is now fighting for her life, paying around £2,000 a month for drugs she can’t get on the NHS, and trying to fund last-ditch treatment in Germany that could cost as much as £200,000.
Gemma claims she was turned away by GPs for ten months before she was diagnosedDeadline NewsGemma, pictured with her sister Becky, is now paying £2,000 for a drug not available on the NHSDeadline NewsThe 37-year-old believes that had family doctors acted sooner she might not be facing such a bleak future.
Gemma, from Middleton, Greater Manchester, first went to her doctor in the spring of 2015.
Her sister Becky, 34, said: “She was going to the GP in pain and she was filling cups full of blood.
“They kept telling her nothing was wrong and they couldn’t find anything.”
Gemma’s disease has spread to her lungs, hip bone, brain and half of her liverDeadline NewsIt was not until April 2016, after repeated visits to GP practices in NHS Greater Manchester and NHS England North, that Gemma was finally referred to a consultant.
She underwent surgery and numerous rounds of chemotherapy and believed she was in remission until doctors told her the disease had spread to her lungs, hip bone, brain and half of her liver.
Bowel cancer is the 2nd deadliest form of cancer, claiming 16,000 lives a year, but it CAN be cured if it’s caught early enough.
Fewer than one in ten people survive bowel cancer if it’s picked up at stage 4, but detected quickly, more than nine in ten patients will live five years or longer.
Gemma, pictured with Becky who is helping raise money for her sister’s treatmentDeadline NewsBecky says her sister has been told by the NHS there is nothing more they can do to tackle the disease.
“If the cancer was caught sooner it would have been operated on sooner,” she said.
FIND OUT MORE What are bowel cancer’s symptoms and signs, how do you get treatment for the condition and is there a test?
“Gemma’s angry that they haven’t given her a full body scan. They have only scanned one area at a time when she says they’re hurting.
“She feels it could all have been caught much sooner if she had been given a full body scan.
Gemma hopes she will be well enough to travel to Germany for immunotherapy which she believes may help her fight the cancerDeadline News“She was really let down when she was suffering with severe headaches and went to A&E but was left in a side room for 14 hours as nobody knew what to do.
“There was no room on the wards and it turned out she had fluid and swelling on her brain.”
Early diagnosis is key to surviving bowel cancer.
That’s why The Sun launched the No Time 2 Lose campaign in April with Bowel Cancer UK, calling on the Government to offer a simple poo test to everyone, every two years, from their 50th birthday.

SUCCESS FOR BOWEL CANCER CAMPAIGN – BUT NOW WE NEED ACTION

The Government announced in August it would lower the bowel screening age from 60 to 50 across England and Wales after The Sun’s No Time 2 Lose campaign.
Bowel cancer is the 2nd deadliest form of cancer, claiming 16,000 lives a year, but it CAN be cured if it’s caught early enough.
Fewer than one in ten people survive bowel cancer if it’s picked up at stage 4, but detected quickly, more than nine in ten patients will live five years or longer.
That’s why The Sun launched the No Time 2 Lose campaign in April with Bowel Cancer UK, calling on the Government to offer a simple poo test to everyone, every two years, from their 50th birthday.
But it’s still not known when the changes will come into place.
Dr Lisa Wilde, director of research at Bowel Cancer UK, said: “We know that screening is the best way to detect bowel cancer at the earliest stage when it gives us the greatest chance of survival.
“We’re pleased that the governments in England and Wales have already committed to lowering the screening age to 50 and introducing a new and more accurate bowel cancer screening test.
“However to make this a reality it’s vital to ensure that the NHS has enough staff to support the delivery of these life-saving improvements to the screening programme.”
Dr Widle is also urging men to learn the signs of bowel cancer.
“Almost 42,000 people diagnosed with the disease every year,” she said.
“And yet 45 per cent of men are unable to spot any symptoms of the disease.
“That’s why we’re asking men to get sponsored to grow a beard for the charity throughout December to help raise awareness of the UK’s second biggest cancer killer.
“Your support will fund vital services and lifesaving research to help ensure a future where nobody dies of bowel cancer.”

The Government announced in August it would lower the bowel screening age from 60 to 50 across England and Wales – but it’s still not known when the changes will come into place.
Gemma has started paying for the drug Avastin in the hope it will shrink her tumours, paying about £2,000 a month.
“The NHS stopped making it available because they didn’t see any good results with it,” Becky added.
“Everyone responds differently to it but Avastin should be made available if it works.”

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The family’s final hope is private immunotherapy treatment in Germany that could cost in excess of £200,000.
“Avastin is our last hope at the moment. Gemma needs to find the strength to go to Germany but she’s just too poorly,” Becky said.
“Every day is a bad one at the moment. She feels very low and she is struggling to walk because her liver is in so much pain. Since the cancer reached her brain a few months ago she has deteriorated.
“Every result she’s had has been bad news.”
You can donate to Gemma’s cause at her Go Fun Me page here.
NHS England has been contacted for comment.
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