Young woman who collapsed in supermarket with suspected Covid diagnosed with cancer


A young woman states that medics initially suspected Covid-19 when she started to feel breathless, however her symptoms turned out to actually be a sign of bowel cancer.

Jade Colburn, 28, started to feel like she could not catch her breath in July 2020, but thought that it might be down to being stuck indoors due to lockdown.

However Jade, who was aged 26 at the time, was later diagnosed with bowel cancer, The Mirror reports.

Now 28, she is speaking out after being given the all clear in an attempt to warn others of the lesser known symptoms that she experienced.

Jade overcame her fears to have a colonoscopy
Jade overcame her fears to have a colonoscopy

The accountant, from Sutton, said: “I had right-side colon cancer, so my symptoms are very different from what you would expect.

“I couldn’t catch my breath. I thought ‘maybe it’s the weather or being stuck indoors’ because it was in the first lockdown.

“I just couldn’t breathe. So I rang 111 and spoke to the doctor. They treated it like I might have Covid but I tested myself and I was not positive.”

Jade was told to go to A&E where she had blood tests and further checks, and it was confirmed she did not have Covid.

She then had an X-ray and a CT scan which found a bilateral pulmonary embolism, which occurs when a blood clot gets lodged in an artery in the lung, blocking blood flow to part of the lung.

She started to feel breathless in July 2020
She started to feel breathless in July 2020

She had to be kept in hospital for a number of days and was put on blood thinners.

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Jade’s condition stabilized until October 2020, but soon she noticed that even walking five minutes to the local shop would leave her breathless.

On New Year’s Eve, she was in Morrisons with her mum when she felt her legs ‘turned to jelly’.

“I just collapsed,” she remembered. “My body didn’t feel like I controlled it.

She underwent several tests before getting her diagnosis
She underwent several tests before getting her diagnosis

Jade had more blood tests at St Helier Hospital, which showed her haemoglobin levels were very low.

She spent New Year’s having a blood transfusion, with more tests showing she was anaemic. Then around the end of June last year, she finally did test positive for Covid.

She says she was struggling to breathe again and ended up back in hospital.

But when she was having scans, “a radiologist noticed something on my bowel, on the right side of my colon.”

She has been given the all clear after surgery
She has been given the all clear after surgery

Jade was booked in for a colonoscopy, but said she broke down crying and was comforted by a nurse who explained the procedure to her.

She was supported through the whole process by Acting Assistant Service Manager for Endoscopy Kim West and Colorectal Clinical Nurse Specialist Paige Middleton, who encouraged her to have the colonoscopy.

A consultant recognized Jade had cancer, before the diagnosis was confirmed by biopsy results at the end of August 2021.

Jade underwent surgery at the end of September and by mid October she was given the all clear.

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Following her order, she wanted to raise awareness of her diagnosis in order to help others.

“A lot of people forget it can affect people from a younger age so my main message is if you do feel ill go and get checked out,” she said.

Symptoms of bowel cancer

The symptoms of bowel cancer can be subtle and do not necessarily make you feel ill. They can include:

  • Bleeding from your bottom and/or blood in your stools
  • A persistent and unexplained change in bowel habit
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Extreme tiredness for no obvious reason
  • A pain or lump in your stomach

Jade shared her story at the end of April which is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, in a bid to highlight the illness as well as thank the Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust staff who supported her and, ultimately, saved her life.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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