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Thursday 13 June, 2024
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Bailey McBreen diagnosed with stage 3 Cancer

BY Anas Shah May 01, 2023. 10:01 pm UPDATED: May 01, 2023. 10:01 pm

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A Florida nurse who couldn’t stop burping disclosed that her condition was caused by an untreated, late-stage malignancy.

Bailey McBreen, 24, began burping up to ten times a day in 2021, which was ‘not normal’ for her.

She ignored the ailment for months, but as it worsened to acid reflux and ‘excruciating’ stomach cramps, she sought medical attention.

Bailey McBreen Bailey McBreen

‘The first sign something was wrong – although I didn’t know it at the time – was when I began excessively burping,’ Ms McBreen told NeedToKnow.

‘I would burp 5-10 times a day. This was not normal for me.’

Despite having emergency surgery, Ms McBreen will continue to receive chemotherapy until the end of August. She is now advising folks to pay attention to their bodies if something doesn’t seem right.

This sort of cancer is extremely unusual in someone as young as Ms McBreen, affecting only two people per 100,000 between 2015 and 2019.

Ms McBreen didn’t think much of the burping when it first started last year. However, in February of this year, she began experiencing acid reflux, which doctors attributed to anxiety.

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It wasn’t until the following January that Ms McBreen realised something was really wrong: she was in ‘excruciating’ agony and couldn’t go to the toilet. She didn’t eat either.

‘Never in a million years did I think that any vague symptom I had was actually stage three colon cancer,’ Ms McBreen told NeedToKnow.co.uk.

‘It truly was an out of body experience. I felt like I was sitting in the corner of the room watching myself be diagnosed. Time felt like it slowed down and my heart rate sped up. I was in a complete state of shock.

I remember the first thing I could say was “I am not ready to die.” All I could do in that moment was cry and mourn the life that I used to have and mentally prepare for what is to come.’

Bailey McBreen

She discovered the weird correlation with belching after her diagnosis in late January. The tumour was higher up in the transverse colon, close beneath the other organs in the abdominal cavity. It is the colon’s longest and most movable segment.

This resulted in an intestinal blockage.

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Ms McBreen believes the tumour prompted the start of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a chronic digestive disorder characterised by an inability of the esophageal sphincter to seal correctly. When that sphincter fails to shut, stomach acid enters the oesophagus, producing heartburn, burping, and difficulty swallowing.

‘GERD was a symptom in my case because my tumor was slowly causing a complete bowel obstruction,’ Ms McBreen said. ‘As a result, my food was not completely digesting and was getting ‘trapped’ above my tumor, causing my reflux and burping.’

‘Excessive burping isn’t your textbook sign of colon cancer but my oncologist told me that it was likely the start of my symptoms.’

Prior to cancer, she lived a’very healthy’ lifestyle, which contributed to her diagnosis being such a shock.

‘I was actually the healthiest I had ever been in the 10 months leading up to my diagnosis,’ Ms McBreen added.

She had been exercising five to six times a week for at least 14 months.

Ms McBreen underwent emergency surgery to remove the tumour in January before beginning chemotherapy the following month. She will get this therapy till the end of August.

According to the National Cancer Institute, Ms McBreen is one of many young people diagnosed with colon cancer, which is the third most prevalent kind of cancer diagnosed in the United States.

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According to an American Cancer Society research from 2023, the risk of colorectal cancer in Americans under the age of 55 grew from 11% of all cases in 1995 to 20% in 2019.

According to the same study, 153,000 persons in the United States will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer this year. This includes around 52,000 fatalities.

Thirteen percent of those cases would be among adults under the age of 50, representing a nine percent rise in instances in that age bracket since 2020.

Ms McBreen now wants to share her experience in order to raise awareness for other people who are experiencing similar ‘warning sign’ symptoms.

‘Anything that is new to you, even if it’s otherwise considered a normal thing, needs to be addressed. I didn’t think anything of my burping because it was a ‘normal’ thing. It’s important to listen to your body,’ she said.

‘My diagnosis has impacted my life in every possible way you could imagine. I don’t know if I will ever fully process the fact that I am diagnosed with such an aggressive and late-stage cancer. But I refuse to let it define me. I am doing everything I can humanly do to fight this disease.’

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