18 year old A-Level student becomes one of youngest people in UK ever to die from bowel cancer


An 18-year-old A-Level student has become one of the youngest people in the UK ever to die from bowel cancer.

Charlotte Simpson, fought a short four-month battle after she was diagnosed with stage four cancer in January 2020.

In April, she was told she had just weeks to live and she passed away on May 22.

Her mother Sarah, 46, a former civil servant, revealed her ‘world fell apart’ when it was confirmed her daughter’s cancer had spread and her diagnosis was terminal.

Before her diagnosis, Charlotte was a ‘very happy young woman’ who was in her second year of A-levels and was in love with another student Scott Dickinson, 19.

Her mother, Sarah, told The Mirror that when she was first diagnosed with cancer, Charlotte didn’t lose hope.

‘Charlotte’s whole attitude from the start was amazing,’ she said. ‘She [Charlotte] said, “It’s going to be ok”.

Charlotte first complained of extreme stomach pain in October last year, but blood tests only detected anaemia and the teen was given iron tablets.

Months later, she was still not feeling better and was losing weight and felt fatigued.

In mid-December the teen found blood in her stools – a common symptom of bowel cancer.

However, the cancer was still not discovered until Charlotte underwent a colonoscopy in Southampton General Hospital in January following two trips to hospital over Christmas where she was ‘in agony’.

When doctors told her that it was likely she had cancer, Charlotte replied: Don’t be silly, I’m only 17.’

Charlotte with her parents Sarah and David at The Ivy in February, a month after she was diagnosed with bowel cancer

Bowel cancer usually affects age groups of over-50s but the charity says there has been a rise in the number of young people affected by the disease.

Charlotte started chemotherapy and immunotherapy in early February but a month later, a scan found that the cancer had spread to her stomach and lymph nodes.

She was given just weeks to live in April but with visitors restricted to only one person in the hospital during the coronavirus lockdown, her parents made the decision to move her home.

Two weeks later, Charlotte died peacefully in her home on May 22 at 10.50am.

In an obituary posted online, Charlotte was described as ‘a beautiful and kind soul’ who made everyone she met ‘feel so very special and so loved’.

Following her death, her mother said she is determined to raise awareness of teenage bowel cancer, saying: ‘I don’t want to see other families grieving like us.’

According to charity Bowel Cancer UK, Charlotte is one of just three teens her age, 15 to 19-year-olds, to be diagnosed annually with the disease on average.

Symptoms of bowel cancer include: 

  • Persistent blood in your faeces
  • A persistent change in your bowel habit
  • Persistent lower abdominal pain, bloating or discomfort

Source: Cancer Research 

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