A British woman was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer after suffering from symptoms for more than a decade.
Fitness enthusiast Jo Green, 38, had been struggling with stomach problems for more than 10 years, the Daily Mail reported. She was originally diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome when she was 19, but learned 15 years later she had a rare and slow-growing cancer of the neuroendocrine system.
Green believes workout regimen and diet plan were the reasons she was able to cope with the symptoms better than most. She said she would frequently go to the gym, do yoga, run, and avoided alcohol and junk food.
“Perhaps that's why it took so long for me to be diagnosed,” Green told the Daily Mail. “I was in good shape and got used to the pain. It must be difficult for doctors to know if something is wrong with someone when they present as fit and healthy as I seemed. Following my diagnosis I was cross with myself for dealing with my symptoms for so long."
When doctors told her they would have to act quickly to save her, she said, "I was devastated.”
Before the cancer diagnosis, Green said she would feel lethargic and work and tired most evenings.
“I would come home and sit down to watch a film and be asleep in 10 minutes,” she explained. “Maybe it was because my body was under so much stress with the condition.”
Her symptoms grew worse, and in 2011, she suffered from severe pain with cramps and diarrhea. Green called for an ambulance.
After a series of tests, Green was told she had neuroendocrine cancer.
“I was told that the hot flashes I'd had years earlier were a symptom of the cancer and I started to think about all the symptoms I'd had,” Green said. “I wondered how long the cancer had been growing and my surgeon estimated 15 years.”
Green underwent an eight-hour surgery to remove a web of tumors and a section of her bowel. She was left with a 9-inch scar across her belly.
Green spent three days in intensive care and was discharged from the hospital after nine days. She continues to have daily injections, and has to have yearly scans to check for other tumors.
“I’ve been told that my cancer will regrow but I'm hoping that surgeons have bought me years by removing the tumors I had,” Green explained. “I’m no longer in pain but I have to deal with the fact that I'm living with cancer. My surgeons removed all visible tumors but you can't expect to remove every one so I still have cancer.”
Green is still active and works with several cancer charities. Last month, she ran for a fundraiser called PLANET, which raises money for research to treat the rare form of cancer she has.