Northumberland woman thanks Ed Byrne for joke which led to her bowel cancer diagnosis

Jackie Kains Lang, from Berwick, in Northumberland, said she had a joke by Ed Byrne to thank for her cancer diagnosis. Credit: Jackie Kaines Lang

A cancer survivor says she has a joke by comic Ed Byrne to thank for being diagnosed with the disease.

Northumberland woman Jackie Kaines Lang, 60, finally made an appointment to see her GP about her symptoms after a joke by the comedian about diarrhoea struck a chord.

Though she first experienced symptoms in 2014, it wasn't until the day after seeing Byrne's show in Berwick that she finally made the appointment that led to her being diagnosed with bowel cancer.

Despite being concerned when she found bright red blood in her poo, she initially thought her symptoms might be linked to her history of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), while she thought her tiredness might be caused by being menopausal.

It wasn't until she went to see an Ed Byrne gig and heard a joke about a long-standing case of diarrhoea that she made an appointment to see her GP.

She said: "He made an aside about going to see a GP and that triggered me. I thought actually I have had diarrhoea and it has been going on for a long time so I the next day I called my GP."

The retired writer was later diagnosed with stage three bowel cancer and underwent an operation and chemotherapy, finishing her treatment in 2016.

Seven years later, she's now part of an NHS campaign urging people to see their GP if they have symptoms that persist for more than three weeks.

She said: "If symptoms are caught early then its very treatable. I’m really keen that other people get to know about it.

"I don’t want to frighten people but I do want to remind them that they do know the most about their bodies.

"You have to know your body and know what's normal. If that normal changes for more than three weeks then that's important."

She added: "It does have a shocking effect when you’re told you have cancer. But it’s also the news that saved my life. Getting there in a reasonable time and an early diagnosis is key to treatment.

Earlier this year, Ms Kaines Lang celebrated her 60th birthday by completing a 10k run to raise funds for bowel cancer and is back to living an active lifestyle.

What are the symptoms of bowel cancer?

According to the NHS, the three main symptoms of bowel cancer are:

  • Persistent blood in your poo or a persistent change in your bowel habit

  • Persistent lower abdominal (tummy) pain, bloating or discomfort

  • Unintentional weight loss

You can find more information here.

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