Mother diagnosed with colon cancer after recognizing a major symptom during pregnancy

A woman diagnosed with colon cancer said her symptoms completely disappeared after giving birth.

Jennaca Russ, 37, developed blood in her stool and anemia — lack of enough healthy red blood cells — in her second trimester of pregnancy.

Russ, who is a nurse, noticed the problem and visited a doctor who assured her that her symptoms were caused by the pregnancy. She then booked a colonoscopy — a test to check the inside of your intestines — for November 2022.

After the birth of her first child in October 2022, Russ’s symptoms stopped. Because of this, she did not think it necessary to go to her appointment, but her mother advised her otherwise.

Russ attended her colonoscopy and was diagnosed with colon cancer. She was told she had a 10 percent chance of survival.

The nurse from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, US, told SWNS, “It was a pretty dark day for us. I got the news two or three days before Thanksgiving.”

“Initially they thought I would be stage one or two, but the next day I had a CT that showed it had spread to my liver.

“When I went on vacation I thought it would be my last with my family, but it was also my baby’s first.”

The nurse said it was in her second trimester when she started feeling blood in her stool, but doctors said it was caused by internal hemorrhoids – lumps in and around your buttocks.

Jennaca Russ was diagnosed with colon cancer in November 2022 (SWNS)

Jennaca Russ was diagnosed with colon cancer in November 2022 (SWNS)

Russ said of the diagnosis: “It was devastating talking to my doctor and he told me I had a year to live.

“After Thanksgiving, I had an appointment with an oncologist who changed my prognosis.

“He said I still have years, but it will be a long fight because the chance of survival is low.

“I have a 10 percent chance of living another five years,” she added.

Russ visited an MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, in December. Russ said: “The doctors there said they think they can remove my liver tumours.

“I had surgery for my colon cancer at the end of February, they said the cure rate is about 40 percent, which is light years ahead of what I was told before.

“Doctors are still deciding when I will have my liver surgery.”

Since being diagnosed, Russ has had four rounds of chemotherapy to help shrink the tumors before surgery.

Russ said: “It was very emotional, the beginning was very difficult.

“I want to make people aware to stand up for themselves, colon cancer in younger people is increasing dramatically.

“Since speaking about my story, I have found many people in the same situation as me.”

Russ lost her job as a nurse due to her illness and a GoFundMe page was set up to help pay for her cancer treatments. So far, the page has raised $29,598 (£24,616) of its $50,000 (£41,585) goal.

Additional reporting from SWNS.

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