BRADENTON, Fla. — A Bradenton nurse is speaking out after her surprising cancer diagnosis.
At 25 years old, Bailey McBreen noticed she was burping excessively and it turns out she has stage 3 colon cancer.
"I was worried about everyone around me getting sick, but I couldn’t fathom me at 25 I could be diagnosed with something so horrible," McBreen said.
As a nurse, McBreen’s job is to care for others.
"I would have never thought I had cancer," she said.
At first, she wasn’t aware her symptoms were so serious.
"I began burping excessively like five to 10 times a day," McBreen said.
That was in 2020, fast forward to this January, McBreen couldn’t go to the bathroom and started feeling sick.
"The pain started getting worse and I had pain where I had to kneel over to function and breathe," McBreen recalled.
McBreen went to several doctors with results showing her labs were normal. A CT scan and ultrasound also came back normal.
"The pain kept persisting, I stopped eating, I started vomiting," she said.
That’s when her mother decided it was time to go to the hospital. The ER nurse was her sister. After another CT scan, doctors delivered the devastating news.
"They said 'You have a mass, it’s in your colon, it’s colon cancer until proved otherwise,'" McBreen said.
Immediately she froze and recalled her heart racing.
"When he said 'You have cancer until proven otherwise,' my heart was at 170 beats per minute," McBreen said.
McBreen was taken into emergency surgery and later found out it was stage 3 colon cancer.
"As a nurse, it was a very out-of-body experience," she said.
It was her turn to be the patient. She underwent more surgeries and one gave her a glimmer of hope. A surgeon was able to remove 28 of her lymph nodes, which is a high number.
Unfortunately, McBreen still has a high risk for metastasis so she’s undergoing chemotherapy.
"It progressively gets worse, but I am very lucky to have the family that I have and the support system that I have," she said.
McBreen said her family and faith keep her strong.
"I am not a statistic and I will beat this," she said.
As she battles, McBreen advocates for others. Her message is don’t ignore your health concerns.
"Anything that is abnormal for you is abnormal," McBreen said.
That's why she is sharing her story with us.
"I want people to understand it’s not just, 'Oh, she has cancer and she’s young, 'boohoo,' no, it’s on the rise," McBreen said.
Knowing that, McBreen continues her fight as she is determined to continue her career of caring for others.
"I wake up every single day and I fight to feel good. I fight for a normal life," she said.
On top of the emotional toll her cancer journey has had, it's had a financial burden as well.
McBreen has set up a GoFundMe that the community can donate to which will help her pay for medical expenses.