woman bracing her pelvic area with her hands due to discomfort. UTI concept, bowel cancer symptom concept
Julie Hambleton
Julie Hambleton
April 9, 2024 ·  3 min read

Woman Thought She Had a UTI, But Ended Up Having Bowel Cancer, and Now She’s Warning Others Not to Dismiss Symptoms.

Receiving a diagnosis you never expected can be a life-altering moment. Ellie, a vibrant 25-year-old woman living in the UK, recounts her journey from thinking she had a standard UTI to discovering that she was battling stage four bowel cancer. Her story has become a cautionary tale, urging others not to dismiss symptoms that could potentially indicate serious health issues. It also has reinforced the need to understand this recent increase in cancer in young people, particularly young women.

Ellie’s Story

Ellie’s health scare started with what she believed to be symptoms of a urinary tract infection (UTI). She was experiencing extreme pain in her lower abdomen, which wasn’t dissimilar to the UTI pain she had experienced in the past. When that pain got worse, she decided to visit her doctor. UTI tests, however, came back negative. Her doctor also decided to do some blood tests, which revealed markers for inflammation. They then decided to do an ultrasound, which revealed a mass in her lower abdomen. Upon further examination, they learned the terrifying truth: Ellie had stage 4 colon cancer. After several surgeries and grueling chemotherapy, doctors gave her the good news that they could no longer find any evidence of the disease. However, how she could have developed it in the first place is still baffling. (1)

Ellie’s case demonstrates how easily symptoms of a serious condition can be mistaken for something else. It also serves as a reminder that even young people can get cancer. Her eventual diagnosis has sparked a passionate desire to raise awareness and urge others to listen to their bodies and seek medical advice if they notice anything unusual.

Read More: If You Notice Any of These 7 Signs, Don’t Ignore Them- They Could Be Early Signs of Breast Cancer

Understanding Bowel Cancer

Bowel cancer, also known as colorectal cancer, is a type of cancer that affects the colon or rectum. It is one of the most common types of cancer diagnosed in the UK. While it is most frequently diagnosed in people over the age of 50, Ellie’s case defies this common demographic, highlighting that this disease can affect individuals of all ages. (2)

This type of cancer usually develops from pre-cancerous growths (polyps) in the colon or rectum. Detecting and removing these polyps can effectively prevent bowel cancer. Understanding the risk factors and symptoms and seeking early detection through screenings is essential in combating this disease.

Signs and Symptoms of Bowel Cancer

Bowel cancer can present a range of symptoms, some of which can be mistaken for less serious conditions. Some key signs and symptoms include:

  • Persistent changes in bowel habits, such as diarrhea or constipation
  • Blood in the stool
  • Abdominal discomfort, including bloating, cramping, or pain
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Persistent anemia

Awareness of these symptoms and their potential implications is crucial, as early detection significantly improves the chances of successful treatment.

What to do if You are Concerned

If you experience persistent or concerning symptoms related to bowel habits, urinary issues, or unexplained weight loss, it is crucial to seek medical advice promptly. Open communication with healthcare professionals and undergoing appropriate diagnostic testing can lead to early detection and intervention, potentially making a life-saving difference.

Don’t Dismiss Symptoms

Ellie’s experience is a powerful reminder not to dismiss symptoms that could indicate more severe health issues. By sharing her story, she hopes to encourage others to be proactive about their health and advocate for themselves in medical settings. With increased awareness and prompt medical attention, lives can be saved. It’s a testament to the importance of taking symptoms seriously and seeking medical advice when in doubt.

Read More: Cancer Rates in Young Women Are On The Rise. Here’s What You Should Know.


  1. Woman diagnosed with stage-four bowel cancer aged just 25 warns other young people not to dismiss symptoms ‘as just a UTI’ like she did – as baffled experts warn of ‘mystery rise’ in disease in the under 50s .” Daily Mail. John Ely. April 4, 2024.
  2. Understanding Bowel Cancer.Cancer Council