My GP misdiagnosed me with tummy problems – now I don’t know how long I have left to live

STRUGGLING with severe tummy pain, Stacey Cochrane knew she had to get help.

The 37-year-old made two trips to A&E and had several GP appointments over two months in the summer.


Stacey Cochrane had been experiencing issues with her stomach during the Summer, she is pictured above with her husband KennethCredit: Stacey Cochrane/Media Scotland
The 37-year-old claims her GP had reassured her that her symptoms were '100 per cent' down to IBS


The 37-year-old claims her GP had reassured her that her symptoms were ‘100 per cent’ down to IBSCredit: Stacey Cochrane/Media Scotland

Initially, she said the GP said her symptoms were just down to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

IBS is a common condition that affects the digestive system and causes issues like cramps.

Making tweaks to your diet and avoiding things that trigger your symptoms such as certain foods can help, the NHS states.

But later that year, Stacey, who lives in Cowdenbeath, Fife, Scotland, was diagnosed with stage 4 stomach cancer.

In the UK, there are around 6,500 new cases of stomach cancer each year, data from Cancer Research UK states.

In the US, the American Cancer Society states that there are around 26,380 new cases each year.

In November, Stacey was then told that the illness was incurable and has since started chemotherapy treatment.

Stacey said she had been having stomach pains for around five years without knowing what the issue was.

However it got so bad that she went to A&E on August 6, before being sent home with morphine.

“I was going on holiday that week, so I asked if I was definitely fit to fly, but they gave me the all-clear and said just to keep away from dairy products. Then I was poorly the whole five days we were in Bulgaria with severe diarrhoea and vomiting.”

Stacey said she attended several appointments with her GP after her A&E trip in early August and claims that her doctor told her on August 26 that her symptoms were linked to IBS.

Stacey added: “The GP assured me he was 100 per cent certain that it was IBS, but I do remember asking how he could know that for certain without a scan.

“Then on September 21, I ended up phoning 999 through the night with more stomach pain and vomiting. A paramedic came out to the house and then admitted me to hospital.

“By now knew something was seriously wrong. I couldn’t even keep water down. So I literally begged for a CT scan. Later that night, I was diagnosed with cancer.”

Her diagnosis revealed the cancer had spread to her ovaries and that she had two tumours measuring 22 and 15cm on her left ovary.

These had been causing her pain and pushing on her stomach.

Stacey continued: “It may sound strange but it was actually a relief to get a diagnosis because I just wanted to know what was wrong.

The 5 signs of stomach cancer you need to know

The NHS states that stomach cancer is a cancer that is found anywhere in the stomach.

While it’s not very common in the UK, the experts say there are five main signs you need to look out for:

  1. heartburn or acid reflux
  2. having problems swallowing (dysphagia)
  3. feeling or being sick
  4. symptoms of indigestion, such as burping a lot
  5. feeling full very quickly when eating

Other signs you should look out for include:

  • loss of appetite or losing weight without trying to
  • a lump at the top of your tummy
  • pain at the top of your tummy
  • feeling tired or having no energy

It’s important to note that if you have a condition like gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, you may get symptoms like these regularly.

If your symptoms change or get worse you should see your GP.

In the event of an emergency always call 999, or visit your nearest A&E department.

“But then they told me it was incurable and at the moment they can’t give me a timeframe on how long I will live.

“Now I just want to speaking up and tell people they need to listen to their own bodies. Don’t give up if you know something is wrong.

“If saying that means I can maybe save someone else’s life, it’s worth it.”

Stacey, who has made a formal complaint to NHS Fife, added: “The staff are trying their best but the NHS is not getting enough funding.”

NHS Fife’s director of nursing, Janette Keenan, said: “Being given a diagnosis of cancer is incredibly distressing news, not just for the individual but for their families and loved ones as well.

“Unfortunately, for reasons of patient confidentiality we are unable to discuss the care of individual people, however, we would urge the person to get in touch with our patient relations team to discuss their care and explore any concerns they may have.”

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She has now started a GoFundMe page to help raise money for a new bathroom and for cash to go towards funeral costs.

Posting on the page she said: “My journey has been a very hard journey, so far each day is very different as one day I can be feeling ok and others can be at rock bottom, but everyday I fight and keep pushing through.”

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