A PRIMARY school teacher has been given just months to live after doctors misdiagnosed her cancer as Inflammatory bowel disease.

Heartbroken Alex Jamieson, 39, is now writing her young daughters letters they can open after she's gone.

It was in 2018 when the mum-of-two from Stockport first began to experience pain and discomfort when passing stools.

At first, she put it down to her hectic life as a busy working mum looking after daughters Annabel, seven, and Imogen, five. 

After being pushed around the healthcare system, she was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease – although Alex was worried it was something "more serious".

"I remember at one time the GP said 'Alex, don't worry that this is anything like cancer, because you would deteriorate, you wouldn't get better and worse."

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But sadly, Alex was right to worry.

Three years later, in June 2021, the mum was rushed to A&E after falling severely unwell and scans revealed she had form of bowel cancer, known as colorectal cancer – at just 37.

"To be told you had bowel cancer was just the furthest thing away from my mind," Alex told the Mirror.

"I would hope now that if I went to see a GP they would put me on a two-week pathway and have a colonoscopy.

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"I do think GPs are more aware of bowel cancer in younger people now and there have been a lot of campaigns around it, obviously with Dame Deborah James, but by Bowel Cancer UK."

Sun writer Dame Debs captured the hearts of the nation in the weeks before she died of Stage 4 bowel cancer on June 28.

The writer spent her final months months raising awareness of bowel cancer and has the symptoms as part of herNo Butts campaign,

The Sun columnist also raised almost £7 million for Cancer Research.

According to Cancer Research UK, there are 42,000 new cases of bowel cancer each year with the highest incidence rates being in older people.

However, since the early 1990s, rates in 25-49-year-olds have soared by 48 per cent.

Alex was treated with chemotherapy for six months, but scans found the cancer had spread leaving the mum no option but to have a full hysterectomy in March 2022.

After such a stressful period and in an attempt to live in the moment, Alex and her partner, Paul, 41, took their two daughters on a once-in-a-lifetime two-week holiday to Mexico.

"Looking back, it was like we didn't have a care in the world, we were just happy," Alex remembered.

"Being a mum of two young children, it's hard when you don't feel well because you know that you're not being the mum you want to be.

Paul added: "The girls really did have the most incredible time in Mexico. We've always said about making memories for the girls."

Tragically, just one month a after their unforgettable trip to Mexico, doctors told Alex the cancer had returned and this time it was incurable.

She asked for her prognosis and was told she had 14-16 months to live.

Alex was astounded and still to this day struggles to accept that it's all she potentially has left.

"I couldn't cry at first because I was just in so much shock," she recalled.

This year, Alex plans to write a diary about both her daughters birth stories and the tales she has of them, in a bid to bring them comfort after she's gone.

She also wants to write letters for them to open on significant days like their wedding days, so it will be like she is there with them, even if she might not be.

Alex is now on a palliative healthcare pathway – which is about making her life as comfortable as it can be whilst trying to extend it, which involves more chemotherapy.

She is also taking a drug called Avastin, which could help extend Alex's life, possibly by a further 6-8 months.

But at a whopping £2,000 a dose, the family needed help to fund it.

What are the first symptoms of bowel cancer?

Being aware of the signs and symptoms of bowel cancer, spotting any changes and going to your doctor is vital. If you notice any of the signs, don’t be embarrassed and make sure you speak to your GP

The five red-flag symptoms of bowel cancer include:

  • Bleeding from the back passage, or blood in your poo
  • A change in your normal toilet habits – going more frequently for example
  • Pain or a lump in your tummy
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Losing weight

Tumours in the bowel typically bleed, which can cause a shortage of red blood cells, known as anaemia. It can cause tiredness and sometimes breathlessness.

In some cases bowel cancer can block the bowel, this is known as a bowel obstruction.

Other signs of bowel cancer include:

  • Gripping pains in the abdomen
  • Feeling bloated
  • Constipation and being unable to pass wind
  • Being sick
  • Feeling like you need to strain – like doing a number two – but after you've been to the loo

Source: Cancer Research UK

Paul set up a dedicated GoFundMe page for the treatment and have been overwhelmed by the number of donations. 

The initial target was £12,000, which is the cost of a three-month schedule of Avastin.

But, following the flood of donations, they then thought about what could really be achieved with the fundraiser, which is a year course at £48,000. It currently stands at just over £37,000.

The Sun launched the No Time 2 Lose campaign in April 2018 – to call on the Government to lower the screening age to 50, which could save 4,500 lives annually.

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In the summer of 2018, health secretary Matt Hancock announced screening in England would be lowered to 50 – marking a victory for The Sun and campaigners.

The programme expanded to include 56 year-olds in 2021.

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