A woman who went from never burping to belching ‘five to ten times a day’ has revealed how she was then diagnosed with stage three colon cancer at age 24.
Bailey Mcbreen, 25, from Sarasota, Florida, never imagined that something so ordinary could have been a symptom of something so deadly.
The nurse knew something was amiss during a holiday with her fiancé in 2021. The trip was marred by constant belching around ‘five to ten times a day’ — even though she was incapable of burping before.
The couple joked about her sudden ability to release gas, and with a doctor putting it down to ‘anxiety’, she focused squarely on planning her dream wedding.
She recalled: ‘We were joking about my burping on holiday because I never used to be able to do it.
Bailey Mcbreen (pictured), 25, from Florida, who began belching ‘five to ten times a day’, has been diagnosed with stage three colon cancer at age 24 (Pictured: Bailey during her treatment)
The nurse first spotted something was amiss during a holiday with her fiancé in 2021. The trip was marred by constant belching around ‘five to ten times a day’. She has since revamped her lifestyle (Pictured: Bailey now, following her surgeries)
Bailey says at first, a doctor put her excessive belching down do a bout of anxiety (Pictured: One of Bailey’s scars following surgery)
‘We didn’t think it was anything alarming as burping is so normal for everyone else.
‘I casually mentioned it to my doctor on my next visit, but again, they also didn’t think anything of it and it was put down to anxiety.
‘I had no other symptoms and eventually everything just went back to normal until January this year’.
What was once considered an embarrassing joke soon transformed into something much more sinister.
As time went on, her unusual burping was accompanied by a variety of other concerning symptoms such as vomiting and nausea.
She explained: ‘I had been planning my engagement party so I was really busy and preoccupied, but then after the party, I realized I hadn’t gone to the toilet in a couple of days which was not normal for me’.
‘As the week went on, my symptoms started snowballing. I had excruciating abdominal pain, cramping, and nausea, and I couldn’t keep my food down.
‘As a nurse, I knew they were the symptoms of a small bowel obstruction, so I tried to resolve it on my own.
‘However, by the time the weekend came around, I was in so much pain my mom said I needed to go to the hospital’.
The nurse knew something was amiss during a holiday with her fiancé in 2021. The trip was marred by constant belching around ‘five to ten times a day’ — even though she was incapable of burping before
The nurse — who had always lived a fit and health lifestyle before — was left stunned when she was diagnosed
As time went on, her unusual burping was accompanied by a variety of other concerning symptoms such as vomiting and nausea — and her nurse instincts told her something was seriously wrong (Pictured: One of Bailey’s scars following surgery)
The bride-to-be says she is ‘praying’ the cancer doesn’t return, and looks forward to her dream wedding with her partner (Pictured: Bailey showing off her engagement ring with her unnamed partner)
At her mother’s insistence, the pair went to a hospital, where Bailey was given a CT scan. Moments later she would receive a devastating diagnosis.
‘Within 10 minutes I was told that I had a mass on my colon and that they believed it was colon cancer until it was proved otherwise’ added Bailey.
‘I was admitted to the hospital straight away. When my biopsy results came back, it was confirmed that I had stage three colon cancer.
‘I felt the blood rush out of my head when I heard those words, and my entire body froze. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
‘I then just went into nurse mode and started asking lots of questions. I was thinking about IVF, losing my hair, and chemotherapy’.
The quick turnaround of events has left Bailey in utter shock. She remarked that she never would have considered burping to be a symptom of cancer: ‘It’s something that is so easily dismissed’ (Pictured: Bailey before her cancer diagnosis)
Bailey underwent further surgery to remove part of her colon and some of her lymph nodes (pictured with her partner)
She has also completed 12 weeks of chemotherapy and is currently waiting for results to determine her next steps
Bailey underwent further surgery to remove part of her colon and some of her lymph nodes.
She has also completed 12 weeks of chemotherapy and is currently waiting for results to determine her next steps.
She continued: ‘I’m in a waiting game at the moment to see if I will need more surgery.
‘The doctors couldn’t get a clear margin the first time round to remove the cancer as it had also attached itself to my spleen. Or I may need further treatment such as radiotherapy’.
The quick turnaround of events has left Bailey in utter shock. She remarked that she never would have considered burping to be a symptom of cancer: ‘It’s something that is so easily dismissed’.
‘But I’ve learnt that anything that is not normal for you, is abnormal. Symptoms are our body’s way of telling us that something is wrong’.
An oncologist told Bailey that burping is one of the biggest symptoms seen in young adults with colon cancer.
The bride-to-be says she is ‘praying’ the cancer doesn’t return, adding she has felt ‘lost’ since her bout with the grueling treatment.
After completing chemotherapy, Bailey was invited to a ring a bell in the hospital — but she currently waiting for results to determine her next steps
EXCESSIVE BELCHING AS A SIGN OF COLON CANCER
Belching, also known as burping, is your body’s way of expelling excess air from your upper digestive tract.
A healthy person usually burps up to 30 times a day. However, some conditions may cause you to burp more often.
Belching alone is not a definitive symptom of cancer, but it may be a precursor to cancers in the digestive system.
Excessive burping that occurs alongside other symptoms can be signs of certain cancers, such as gastric (stomach) cancer, esophageal cancer, and colon cancer.
In addition to constant burping, look out for symptoms like:
- Poor appetite
- Unintentional weight loss
- Abdominal pain
- Discomfort in the abdomen, usually above the navel
- Feeling full after eating only a small meal
- Heartburn or indigestion
- Vomiting, with or without blood
- Swelling or fluid buildup in the abdomen
She said: ‘Since finishing chemo, I’ve been feeling lost. It’s weird just waiting around and praying that I won’t have a reoccurrence.
‘However, I have been planning my wedding in the middle of all of this, which has given me something to focus on and keep my mind occupied.
‘We’re having a small destination wedding in November. It’s been amazing to have something that’s giving me light during something very dark and scary. I can’t wait to get married’.
Bailey is focused wholeheartedly on turning her life around ‘holistically’ so she can maintain the energy needed to fight for her life. The experience has also taught her some key lessons about life.
‘My biggest takeaway from all of this is to not let medics dismiss your symptoms. You know your body better than anyone and if you think something isn’t quite right, don’t let it be covered by modern medicine’.