Written By: Chantel Brink
Cancer is a well-known and formidable adversary, but what if it came about as something as innocent as a burp? That was the case for a 24-year-old woman who had been burping continuously for weeks before being diagnosed with stage 3 cancer, discovering that they were in fact, cancer symptoms. Bailey McBreen, a kindhearted nurse from Florida, had her world shattered in 2021 when she received the devastating news.
Initially, she didn’t think much of burping ten times a day, but it turned out to be a symptom of a much bigger problem. She was ultimately diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer. Although she initially dismissed the burping as inconsequential, it was actually her body’s way of warning her that something was amiss.
Sadly, her condition got worse, and she began experiencing acid reflux and excruciating stomach pains
Despite leading an active and healthy lifestyle that included frequent gym visits, the 24-year-old was perceptive enough to notice that something was wrong. She was in tune with her body and soon realized that her persistent burping was not a typical symptom. “I worked out 5-6 times a week consistently for at least 14 months,” she said.
“The first sign something was wrong – although I didn’t know it at the time – was when I began excessively burping. I would burp 5-10 times a day. This was not normal for me. I rarely ever burped before, so I noticed how weird it was. But I honestly didn’t think too much of it. I never thought it could be linked to such a horrible disease.” She continued.
Unknown to be cancer symptoms at the time, her condition worsened
Regrettably, her burping symptom developed into acid reflux, which her doctors initially attributed to anxiety, resulting in a delayed diagnosis. Over time, her symptoms worsened, including a diminished appetite and agonizing pain. As a skilled nurse, Bailey had a gut feeling that something was obstructing her internal organs. A CT scan confirmed her suspicion: she had a tumor developing in her colon.
Bailey was utterly taken aback by her stage three colon cancer diagnosis at the young age of 24. Like many others, she never anticipated that ambiguous symptoms could indicate such a severe illness. During an interview with NeedToKnow.co.uk, Bailey expressed her astonishment, saying, “I never could have imagined that any obscure symptom I had could actually be indicative of stage three colon cancer.“
She added, “I remember the first thing I could say was, ‘I am not ready to die.’ “ Colon cancer is a relatively uncommon occurrence in young adults, with only two cases diagnosed per 100,000 individuals each year. 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.”
Bailey’s diagnosis in January marked only the start of her cancer journey
Bailey quickly discovered that the tumor was located in the transverse colon, which is positioned beneath other organs within the abdominal cavity. This location made treatment particularly difficult and exacerbated the severity of her cancer symptoms. As Bailey described, the tumor was triggering gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a painful ailment in which stomach acid flows back into the esophagus, causing heartburn and other unpleasant symptoms.
Moreover, the tumor caused a complete bowel obstruction, making it hard for Bailey to defecate and leading to intense discomfort. She said: “GERD was a symptom in my case because my tumor was slowly causing a complete bowel obstruction. “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.” She said. Bailey McBreen has demonstrated remarkable fortitude and perseverance since receiving her diagnosis. Even though a cancer diagnosis can trigger shock and fear, she has chosen not to let the disease overcome her. This brave woman aspires to utilize her story as a warning about the risks of disregarding atypical symptoms.
In her words: “I am determined not to let this illness dictate my life. I am giving it my all to combat this disease.”
This article originally appeared on The Premier Daily and has been republished here with permission.
Keep Reading: Illinois Nurse Adopts Baby from Intensive Care Unit
- “Florida Nurse, 25, Who Couldn’t Stop Burping Learned She Had a Symptom of Stage 3 Cancer.” People. Vanessa Etienne. May 3, 2023.
- “I couldn’t stop burping — not in a million years did I suspect Stage 3 cancer.” NY Post. Ben Cost. May 1, 2023