A nurse from Florida struggled with an unusual problem of constant burping and revealed a few months later that this was due to late-stage cancer.
Back in 2021, the 24-year-old Bailey McBreen burped 10 times per day. And, this was quite unusual for her, but she never suspected such a life-threatening disease was causing the symptom.
She end up ignoring this issue for several months and the symptom had already progressed to acid reflux she also experienced strong and painful stomach cramps.
When she went to get checked out, little did she know that her life won’t be the same from that moment on.
Diagnosed with Stage 3 Cancer after Overlooking Continous Burping
Ms McBreen lead a healthy lifestyle: she worked out several times per week; unfortunately, this didn’t prevent getting diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer. She was in shock and so was her family.
Although burping as a cancer symptom seems quite bizarre, colon cancer may obstruct the digestive tract and trigger surplus gas. She knew something wasn’t right when she started to burp constantly, sometimes up to 10 times per day. This wasn’t something normal for her, but she didn’t get checked out immediately.
After the diagnosis, Ms. McBreen underwent surgery and is now scheduled for chemotherapy until the end of August. She’s currently trying to share her story and motivate others to listen to their bodies when they feel something is unusual.
Her cancer is very rare in individuals who’re as young as she is. It actually happens in two per 100,000 individuals between the ages of 20 and 24 between the years of 2015 and 2019.
Ms. McBreen didn’t think a lot about the burping once it started. After some time, she also began to struggle with acid reflux, but her doctors told her it may be due to anxiety.
It wasn’t until January this year that she started to become more certain that something was wrong. She suffered from severe pain, she lost her appetite, and she couldn’t go to the bathroom.
She Suspected an Obstruction in Her Body
Since she’s a nurse, Ms. McBreen was certain that an obstruction was happening inside her body. Still, though, she didn’t suspect a tumor until the CT scan showed one growing inside her colon.
It never occurred to her that this vague symptom she experienced was due to stage 3 colon cancer. For her, it was an out-of-body experience.
She felt like she was sitting in the room and watching herself getting the diagnosis. At that moment, time had slowed down and her heart rate went up. She was shocked.
The first thing she said after the diagnosis was that she was not ready to diet. At that moment, she cried and mourned the life she had and was preparing mentally for what ensued.
After the diagnosis, she learned about the odd connection of this tumor with belching. The tumor was upper in the transverse colon, beneath the other organs in the abdomen. This is the longest and most mobile part of the colon and this was the cause of the bowel obstruction.
Ms. McBreen believes the tumor triggered GERD. This is a chronic digestive illness that occurs when the esophageal sphincter is unable to close adequately. When this is the case, the acid from the stomach goes up to the esophagus and results in heartburn, burping, and difficulty swallowing.
In her case, the tumor was gradually causing total obstruction of the bowel. So, the food wasn’t properly being digested and was collecting above the tumor and causing the reflux and constant burping.
Burping isn’t a common indicator of colon cancer, but her oncologist told her this was the beginning of the symptoms.
Ms. McBreen Led a Healthy as Possible Lifestyle
Before the diagnosis of cancer, Ms. McBreen led a healthy lifestyle and this was one of the reasons why she was so shocked by the results. The 10 months before the cancer diagnosis, she says that she was the healthiest she had ever been.
She exercised five to six times per week for 14 months.
After the diagnosis, she underwent surgery to have the tumor taken out. Then, she got chemotherapy the following month. The chemotherapy is scheduled until the end of August.
Unfortunately, Ms. McBreen is only one of the many young individuals who receive a colon cancer diagnosis. This is the most common type of cancer in the US according to data provided by the National Cancer Institute.
What’s more, in a 2023 report issued by the American Cancer Society, it was found that the rate of colorectal cancer in Americans younger than 55 elevated from 11 percent in 1995 to 20 percent in 2019.
Ms. McBreen is eager to share her story in order to increase the awareness of individuals who have unusual signs of the disease. She encourages others to always address new symptoms, no matter how “usual” they seem.
She says that her life changed after the diagnosis. And, she’s unsure if she will ever be able to process the fact that she has been diagnosed with an aggressive and late-stage tumor.
However, she’s certain to never allow the diagnosis to define her and promises to do everything she can to fight against this illness.