A HEARTBROKEN young woman has spoken of her devastation following the death of her “kind” twin brother.

Ryan Brown died on May 14 just 13 days after being diagnosed with bowel cancer, but his family believe his 15cm tumour had been growing for more than a year.

The 23-year-old, from Harthill, had become ill in February 2021 and began showing symptoms including change in his stool, fatigue, dehydration, and constantly needing the toilet.


Glasgow Times: Ryan died at just 23-years-oldRyan died at just 23-years-old

His sister, Hope Brown, 23, told the Glasgow Times that she believes he wasn’t tested for bowel cancer sooner due to his young age.

The condition affects the large colon as cells grow in an uncontrolled way and despite having a high survival rate, if not caught early it can be fatal.

It is one of the most common types of cancer diagnosed in the UK. Most people diagnosed with it are over the age of 60.

Symptoms can include bleeding from your bottom and/or blood in your stool, a persistent and unexplained change in bowel habit, unexplained weight loss, extreme tiredness for no obvious reason, and a pain or lump in your tummy.

Now Ryan’s devastated twin has opened up about his death in the hope the illness will be recognised in more young people.

Glasgow Times: Ryan died from bowel cancerRyan died from bowel cancer

Hope said: “It's been horrible. I have lost my twin. We were supposed to grow up together but now I won’t have that.”

She added: “It was purely down to his age that his symptoms were missed, I believe. You don’t expect a 23-year-old to have stage-four bowel cancer.

“My mum and dad are so devastated, there are just no words for it.

“Ryan was very sarcastic, family orientated, and extremely smart.

“He was really confident, kind, and not a bad person at all. He did not deserve this.”

Ryan had suffered from ulcerative colitis since the age of 12, which is a long-term condition where the colon and rectum become inflamed.

People who have ulcerative colitis have an increased risk of developing bowel cancer, but the Strathclyde University student was never tested for it even after showing symptoms at the start of 2021.

He began passing green substances when he went to the toilet and felt very unwell but never got a face-to-face appointment with his nurse until September that year.

Glasgow Times: Ryan and his mother before he passed awayRyan and his mother before he passed away

His condition continued to deteriorate, and between February and April this year Ryan made a number of calls to his IBD nurses begging for help.

He was admitted to Wishaw General for a week in March but no tests were done, instead he was given steroids through a drip and sent home.

Ryan then had to phone his IBD nurse again at the end of April as he became extremely ill and began to struggle to even walk.

He was taken into hospital again and his bowel perforated, leaving him violently vomiting, and was finally sent for a CT scan.

It was then that medics found his bowel cancer, which had spread through his bowel, lymph nodes and seven sections of his liver.

At first doctors hoped chemotherapy and surgery would help him, but days later realised he was far too ill for treatment.

Ryan was moved to St Andrews Hospice in Airdrie and less than two days later he sadly passed away.

Despite being so ill, Ryan managed to complete his dissertation and found out he secured an Honours degree in Electronic and Electrical Engineering just before he died.

Hope said: “The doctors just kept telling us they hadn’t seen it in anyone so young before.

“His body tried so hard to fight it, but it was just too late.

“He was so determined, he even finished his dissertation while in hospital in March. We found out from the university he got his degree and managed to tell him.

“Ryan was really confident, he had a very strong personality and 100% believed in himself.

“Now I just want people to know this isn’t an ‘old person’ illness, it can affect anyone and it should be recognised in young people.

“I am doing a 10k walk to raise awareness on June 5 to raise awareness for colitis.

“Ryan will always be my twin no matter what and my big brother, by one minute, as he always liked to remind me.”



Russell Coulthard, deputy director of acute services at NHS Lanarkshire, said: “Our thoughts and sympathies are with the family following the sad death of this young man.

“We would ask the family to get in touch with our patient affairs team at patientaffairs.corporate@lanarkshire.scot.nhs.uk to offer them the opportunity to discuss their concerns with us directly.”