A dad-of-two said a GP told him his stage four bowel cancer was initially missed because he was "only 38" - despite his grandfather having died from it.

Mark Newberry's wife Sophie forced him to go to A&E after he was left in crippling pain despite being told he had a stomach ulcer or colic.

Two days later he was given the shock news that he had an aggressive cancer which needed operating on immediately, reports the Daily Record.

Mark, now 41, admitted it was "a lot to get my head round" and cancer had "never cross my mind" - though it had blocked his bowel and was quickly spreading.

Mark with his kids Thomas, now 13, and Olivia, now 9

He went on to have eight rounds of chemotherapy over six months and suffered some of the nasty side effects, including sensitivity to cold and tingling in his hands.

The dad, from Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, had visited an out of hours service and his GP twice in the days leading up to his diagnosis and cancer was never even considered.

He said: "I had been having irregular bowel movements for a few months but didn’t think much about it.

"But in the week leading up to my diagnosis, I had bad stomach pains, was unable to keep any food down and felt lethargic.

"I went to an out of hours clinic at the end of November 2017, where I was told I had a stomach ulcer.

After six months of chemo Mark went back to his GP to ask how the cancer was missed

"I saw my GP the next day, who told me it was colic, then two days later I visited the same practice where I was told the same again.

"But that evening, my wife Sophie forced me to go to A&E as I was in so much pain. I had an x-ray and was kept in hospital overnight."

Two days later he was diagnosed and rushed for an emergency operation.

Concerned about his initial missed diagnosis, Mark asked his GP why it had happened.

"I was told that it wouldn’t have even been on their radar that I had bowel cancer because I was only 38."

Genevieve Edwards, chief executive at Bowel Cancer UK, said: "It’s incredibly concerning that doctors continue to rule out the disease for people who visit with classic red flag symptoms, telling them they’re too young to have bowel cancer."

Symptoms which should be investigated include bleeding from your bottom and/or blood in your poo.

Also, a persistent and unexplained change in bowel habit, unexplained weight loss, extreme tiredness for no obvious reason, and a pain or lump in your stomach.

Ms Edwards added: "Nobody should be told they don’t have bowel cancer based only on their age, and referrals for further investigation should be made as soon as possible. 

"Bowel cancer is the second biggest cancer killer in the UK, but it’s treatable and curable, especially when diagnosed early.

"It’s vital that people can recognise the signs of bowel cancer and know it isn’t a disease which only affects older people."