A Delayed Diagnosis
- Lisa Britton from Leeds, England was diagnosed with stage four gastric cancer at just 38 years old.
- The mom-of-three was suffering from a bacterial infection called Helicobacter pylori, known as H. pylori, and doctors had chalked up her stomach pains to the digestive tract condition.
- Stomach cancer typically affects older people, with the average age of diagnosis being 68. Nearly 6 of every 10 people diagnosed with stomach cancer each year are 65 or older. However, it can occur in younger people like Lisa. Knowing your family history is important, and be sure to see a doctor if you have any lingering pains that don’t seem to be from a common condition.
The mom-of-three was suffering from a bacterial infection called Helicobacter pylori, known as H. pylori, and doctors chalked up her stomach pains to the digestive tract condition.Read More
Lisa’s oncologist reportedly told her she had more chance of being struck by lightning than getting this form of cancer, which is also known as stomach cancer here in the states.
It’s normal to feel sad about changes in your life that might be brought on by a cancer diagnosis.
“Grief comes in waves,” says Dr. Scott Irwin, a psychiatrist and Director of Supportive Care Services at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. “They’re grieving the change in their life, the future they had imagined is now different.”
Some days can be tougher than others, but Dr. Irwin says talk therapy is helpful so it’s important to reach out to your doctor, to a therapist or to support groups in your community.
A lot of survivors tell us that telling their loved ones was one of the hardest things about having cancer, especially children. How do you keep strong for your kids when you’re simply not feeling strong?
Gina de Givenchy says she told her daughter, who was 12 at the time of her diagnosis, the day after she found out. “I really wanted her to know that I was going to be OK,” Gina says. “I didn’t want her to see me weak and sickly. It is what it is, you can’t really hide it. But when it comes to your kids, I think you want to protect them.”
Tragically, Lisa passed away from the disease just 14 months from her diagnosis at age 39.
“Our beautiful amazingly talented sister sadly passed away on July 10. Lisa left behind three devastated children and heartbroken family and friends who love her so much,” the family expressed in a statement.
“Anyone that knew our Lisa, knew she was just one of a kind, she had the biggest heart she was so caring and was the most selfless person we have ever met.”
Understanding Stomach Cancer
Ever since their devastating loss, Lisa’s family has been on a mission to raise awareness. The more you learn about this disease and its symptoms, the more you can stay ahead of a potential diagnosis.
Stomach cancer occurs with an abnormal growth of cells in the stomach area. Treatment options for this disease include surgery, medications, radiation, and chemotherapy.
According to the American Cancer Society (ACS) there will be approximately 26,560 new cases of stomach cancer diagnosed in the U.S. this year (16,160 in men and 10,400 in women). Stomach cancer typically affects older people, with the average age of diagnosis being 68. Nearly 6 of every 10 people diagnosed with stomach cancer each year are 65 or older. Symptoms of this disease may include:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Feeling bloated after eating
- Feeling full after eating small amounts of food
- Stomach pain
- Unintentional weight loss
If you are experiencing any combination of these symptoms, go to the doctor and get checked.
Although stomach cancer is one of the more aggressive types and Lisa’s life ended much too soon, just know that there is more hope today than ever with people surviving the disease.
We commend Lisa’s family for sharing her story, their grief, and mission to help raise awareness about early detection.