Mayo coroner urges regular colonoscopy test for all adults

A coroner has advised all adults, even those who are symptomless, to have a colonoscopy test for bowel cancer every two to three years.

Patrick O’Connor, Coroner for Mayo, made his recommendation at the conclusion of an inquest of a 51-year-old woman who passed away in the intensive care unit of Mayo University Hospital, Castlebar, in 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 the deceased showed no symptoms of illness until about two months before her death when she had blood tests after suffering ‘vague stomach pains’.

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.