A 36-year-old woman whose heart was beating faster and faster thought she was going through menopause. She had anemia caused by colon cancer.

Akash Arjun
Akash Arjun

Global Courant

Left: Carla after surgery. Right: Carla enjoys her vacation after getting everything clear.Carla Mitchell

A woman, 36, was diagnosed with colon cancer after developing anemia symptoms.

Carla Mitchell later discovered she had a genetic condition that predisposed her to certain cancers.

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The number of cases of colon cancer among younger people is steadily rising.

A 36-year-old woman discovered she had colon cancer after a Anemia diagnosis led to further investigation.

In January 2021, when Carla Mitchell, from the UK, suffered from a rapid heartbeat, aching legs and became short of breath after climbing a flight of stairs, she initially thought she was entering menopause, she told charity Bowel Cancer UK. The early stages of menopause can start as early when you are 30 but most people notice changes in their early 40s.

Although she was found to be anemic, both Mitchell and her doctor believed there was no need to worry because she was young. But the results of a warning colonoscopya test that involves passing a camera through the anus, rectum, and colon led to the diagnosis bowel cancer. Anemia is found in up to 75% of colon cancer patients.

Eliminating the stigma around colon cancer for the elderly

In April 2022, Mitchell learned she had Lynch syndrome after consulting with a genetic counselor. The hereditary condition increases a person’s risk of getting certain types of cancer, including intestine, uterus and ovaries cancers.

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She now feels passionate about educating people about Lynch syndrome and recognizing the signs of colon cancer.

“It’s about eradicating the stigma around colon cancer as a disease of the elderly,” she told Insider via email.

Carla on vacation a year after her cancer treatment.Carla Mitchell

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Colon cancer is becoming more common in young people

Colon cancer, also called colorectal cancer, is the second most common cause of cancer-related death in the US, according to the American Cancer Society.

The disease is most often associated with older people, but cases in younger people has been rising steadily for decades. One in five new cases are in people in their early 50s or younger, according to the latest figures from the ACS.

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Changes in bowel habits such as constipation or diarrhoea, as well as abdominal pain, unexplained weight loss, fatigue and blood in the stool can all be early signs of colon cancer. Although it is also common show no symptoms until the cancer has grown or spread, making screening a critical part of preventing the disease, according to the ACS.

Catching the cancer early makes it more treatable and effective Bowel Cancer UKalmost everyone who is diagnosed at the earliest stage survives.

Colon cancer treatment may include keyhole surgery

Carla for chemotherapy.Carla Mitchell

After being diagnosed with colon cancer, Mitchell underwent keyhole surgery that lasted just over four hours, she told Insider.

During the procedure, known as a hemicolectomy, doctors removed the tumor and surrounding lymph nodes. About a third of her intestine was removed and the ends were tied together.

Prior to this, Mitchell thought her cancer was stage one, meaning it hasn’t spread beyond the intestinal wall and is easier to treat. But after the removed lymph nodes were biopsied, she was told it had reached stage three, meaning the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes. This led to her needing three rounds of chemotherapy.

Mitchell’s treatment was successful and she is now in remission. She will have regular blood work and CT scans for the next five years and annual colonoscopies for the rest of her life because of her Lynch syndrome.

Read the original article Insider

A 36-year-old woman whose heart was beating faster and faster thought she was going through menopause. She had anemia caused by colon cancer.

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