A Mayo coroner has advised all adults, even those without symptoms, to have a colonoscopy test for bowel cancer every two three years.
Patrick O’Connor, Coroner for Mayo, made his recommendation today at the conclusion of an inquest into the death of Angela Acton, a 5I year-old housewife and mother of three, who lived at Ballycushion, Cloghans Hill, Tuam, Co. Galway.
Mrs. Acton passed away in the intensive care unit of Mayo University Hospital, Castlebar, on December 24, 2021.
The medical cause of death was septicemia and multi-organ failure due to a perforated locally advanced poorly differentiated adenocarcinoma of the right colon.
Evidence was given to today’s inquest at Swinford Courthouse that Mrs. Acton showed no symptoms of illness until about two months before her death when she had blood tests after suffering ‘vague stomach pains’.
Mr. Waqar Khan, consultant surgeon at MUH, said Mrs. Acton was found to have a very large tumour.
Responding to Coroner O’Connor, Mr. Khan said the tumour had probably started about a year earlier and was aggressive in nature.
After hearing the evidence, the coroner said it appeared nothing could be done from a medical point of view to save the young mother.
He then returned a verdict of death from natural causes.
Coroner O’Connor noted that the National Bowel Screening Programme only covers those who are aged 60 and upwards.
Stating that perhaps something could be learned from “the unfortunate and sad loss of a young mother”, the coroner advised that everybody of a certain age undergo regular colonoscopies.
Early diagnosis would help to alleviate the aggressive nature of some cancers, Coroner O’Connor stated.
The Acton family, Angela’s husband Donal, her son Darragh and daughters, Rebecca and Clodagh, along with other relatives attended today’s inquest.
The family was represented by Anthony O’Doherty, Concannon & Meagher Solicitors), instructed by Kieran Murphy BL while Fiachra Breathnach BL, instructed by Linda Ryan (RDJ Solicitors) appeared for MUH and the hospital’s medical staff.