Kathy Narrier is on a mission to help young people better understand the risk of liver and bowel cancer after her 34-year-old daughter passed away earlier this year.
In 2015, Nicole Yarran, from western Australia, had been feeling unwell for months — she was losing weight, feeling bloated, constipated and discovered blood in her stool.
“She had raised her concerns with her GP and was simply told that she was ‘too young for bowel cancer,’ and was diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS),” Narrier told Unilad. Nicole was only 32 at the time, and she spoke with another doctor at the practice for confirmation.
“Her opinion was that Nicole was suffering from celiac, neither doctor performed any tests, no ultrasound or blood tests,” Narrier added.
Nicole was still sick when she fell pregnant with her third daughter, Alavi. But when she went in for a routine ultrasound, doctors discovered “eight golf ball-sized tumours” on her liver.
On Christmas Eve 2015, Nicole was diagnosed with metastatic colorectal cancer. She started treatment three days later.
“If the doctor had only listened to her symptoms and requested a stool sample or full blood count, at least they would have found it in 2014, because it was the pregnancy that aspirated the cancer, it literally fed the tumours,” Narrier said.
“Nicole was a warrior during her ordeal, she got angry at the sight of tears, and yes she hid the majority of her prognosis, it was not until she developed fluid that it became apparent that we were on borrowed time.”
In September 2017, less than two years after her diagnosis, Nicole passed away. Her last wish was to help raise awareness about cancer in young people, and her mom is fulfilling her request.
She is reminding practitioners to respect the opinions of their patients — to listen to what their gut tells them, “because more than often, its the first initial gut instinct that can prevent the negative outcome,” and possibly prevent the death of a loved one.
“I am asking for help to share Nicole’s story so that other young women and men that know their bodies and know that there is something wrong,” Narrier concluded.
“Fight to continually ask for further tests, ask for a second opinions because if you don’t it could literally cost you your life, and no family needs to suffer the heartache of losing a young member of their family.”