Woman's dramatic weight loss was actually cancer

A woman who was thrilled to finally be winning her battle with the bulge was devastated to find out she actually had cancer.

Melanie Swan Horton

Melanie Swan Horton

Melanie Swan-Horton saw herself go from a size sixteen to a size ten, and couldn’t have been happier.

But the weight loss came with a downside; Melanie was prone to bouts of lethargy along with her dramatic weight loss, which she put down to the hours she was spending in the gym.

It wasn't until it was too late that she realised these were actually symptoms of bowel cancer, which, because she waited so long to see a doctor, is now terminal.

"I genuinely thought I was slimmer, fitter and happier than ever. When I heard them say incurable cancer I was shocked and devastated," Ms Horton-Swan told The Daily Mail.

After bouts of surgery and chemotherapy, Melanie has been told there is nothing more doctors can do and she's now in palliative care.

Melanie is using her story to warn other women not to ignore the warning signs, and to inspire cancer victims to keep fighting.

"I’m mentally and physically exhausted and I’m finding it hard to keep going at the moment but I don’t want to let this horrible disease win," she says.

She's concerned women who are dieting or trying to get fit may mistake the warning signs for something more positive.

"Before I die I want every man and woman to know the signs of bowel cancer. I thought I was getting really slim and fit but it was the cancer killing me and other slimmers need to be aware."

Melanie began getting fit after a divorce two years ago.

Her new partner Kristian encouraged her to join a gym, and she took to her new fitness regime with enthusiasm.

Melanie put her fatigue down to her diet and exercise, and even ignored small amounts of blood found in her toilet.

"I was shocked at first but then I remembered hearing that lifting weights could cause small bleeds so again I put it down to the exercise," she told The Daily Mail.

"All the pieces of the puzzle seemed to fit. Of course if it had come out of the blue and if I hadn’t been dieting and lifting weights I would have gone to the GP immediately."

By the time Melanie made it to the operating table the cancer had spread to her liver and lungs, and it was too late.

But it’s not too late for other cancer victim's, she says.

"If bowel cancer is found in time it can be cured so if you read my story and you have any of the symptoms please see your GP."

Melanie married Kristian shortly after the diagnosis, and hasn’t asked doctors how long she has left.

She says she wants to keep fighting to the end for her daughters, husband, family and friends.