Woman reveals how her doctor dismissed sign of colon cancer due to her weight


(@mandapaints/TikTok)

A woman has revealed how her first signs of cancer were disregarded by her doctor due to her weight.

In February 2021, Amanda Lee posted a video to TikTok about how she was struggling with “abdominal cramping for months.” And although she said that many doctors didn’t listen to her, she did find a gastroenterologist to meet with, who she had to “fight for.”

“I told him that I hadn’t been eating because it causes pain and I have pain when I eat,” she explained, as she was crying. “He looked at me and had the audacity to say, ‘Maybe that’s not such a bad thing.’”

“I’m so upset,” she added. “I’m so upset.”

Since then, Lee has shared updates about her symptoms and how she went to see another doctor, where she learned that she had colon cancer, a condition that “begins in the large intestine,” as noted by the Mayo Clinic. She’s continued documenting her experiences with the disease on social media.

Last month, Lee reposted her viral video on TikTok, noting that it’s been a year since her doctor first “ignored” her signs of cancer.

“It still baffles me that a doctor ignored all of my textbook colon cancer symptoms to just put fat, ignorance, [and] lazy medicine on me instead,” Lee explained.

According to Mayo Clinic, signs of colon cancer can vary, but some of them include, “a persistent change in your bowel habits,” “weakness or fatigue,” and “persistent abdominal discomfort.”

Lee then revealed that after she filmed her video last year, she went back to the doctor’s office, “demanding an apology.”

“What baffles me the most is that after I took this video, I proceeded to walk back into the doctor’s office and demand an apology,” she said. “I don’t know who that girl is who did that, but she’s a bada**. And she’s going to talk about this every day of her life.”

In the comments, many viewers asked Lee if the doctor ever apologised and she said that he did not.

As of 8 March, this clip has over 245,600 views so far, with TikTok users in the comments applauding Lee for sharing her story and bringing awareness to the bias and judgements placed on overweight individuals, also known as fatphobia.

“Fatphobia is dangerous,” one wrote. “We shouldn’t have to be warriors but I’m so proud of you for being one.”

“I am listening,” another said. “I am currently a medical student and I hear your story, thank you so much for sharing.”

Many others noted how Lee has inspired them, one of whom said: “I think about you every time I talk to my doctor. They tried to deny me medication when I was in a mental health crisis and I DEMANDED my meds.”

Speaking to BuzzFeed about the appointment with the gastroenterologist, Lee noticed how he didn’t seem interested in her medical history.

“I already kind of knew,” she explained. “You already know when someonedoesn’treally care about what you have to say.” Lee said that he often interrupted her and didn’t plan on running any tests on her.

She then sat in her car for “30 minutes” and “cried” while talking to her best friend, who encouraged her to go back to the doctor’s office.

“I knew that it was wrong, deep down inside me,” she explained. “There are only so many times that a doctor can tell you that it’s your fault that you’re sick, it’s your fault that you’re fat, or that you’re useless for being fat.”

When she saw the doctor for a second time, he told Lee that she was being too “sensitive” and that she didn’t understand his “sense of humour.” After leaving his office, Lee still acknowledged that what her doctor had said to her was “inappropriate.”

“Something inside of me was telling me that this was wrong and what he was doing was inappropriate, but I also felt like it was so common, and it was so difficult to pinpoint why,” she added.

Lee then went to a new doctor and made sure that it was a woman. After getting a colonoscopy, Lee learned that she had a tumour. And while she’s in the midst of getting better, her cancer has had a big impact on her mental health.

“The residual anxiety, trauma, and grief have really been kicking my butt,’ she explained. “I would probably say that it’s almost as bad as the chemo was on my body.”

Speaking to The Independent, Lee said that she is a “NED,” meaning that there is “no evidence of disease” in her body.

She also emphasised how grateful she is that her story has been shared and how important it is to find the a trustworthy doctor.

“I think it a topic we have let go untouched for so long…. Too long,” she explained. “I think it’s extremely important for you to trust your body and to find a doctor you can trust. There are wonderful trust worthy doctors out there that will listen to you, you just have to keep trying to find them.”

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