A MOTHER has urged young people to watch out for the signs of bowel cancer after her daughter’s early death.

Alexandra Dann died in Sobell House Hospice on December 14 after a long battle with the cancer.

She was just 30 – far younger than when most people get the condition – and had been preparing for her wedding.

The Cowley resident was diagnosed with the cancer in September but had first contacted her doctor six months before then, in March, because of bleeding.

In the time between her first appointment and her diagnosis, the Church Hill Road resident lost two stone in weight and deteriorated to the point where she could only move around with a walking stick.

Around 160 people die a year of the condition in Oxfordshire but most are far older, and Cancer Research UK statistics for 2009-2011 show just 73 bowel cancer deaths a year involved people aged 34 or below.

Alexandra’s mother, Di Dann, said: “She progressed into having what the doctor thought was a slipped disc but it was actually the cancer going into her spine.

“She had difficulty in lying down or getting up, she had to walk with a stick and she was passing blood very heavily.

“It is a tragic story in that someone with a life in front of them had it taken away by bowel cancer, which young people might not think it is possible for them to get.

“Ali’s dying wish was that young people should be made more aware of bowel cancer.”

Ms Dann, who worked as a marketing executive for Opus Energy in Summertown, was admitted to the John Radcliffe Hospital on September 13 before being transferred to the Churchill Hospital.

In October, she was told the disease had spread to her brain and it was terminal.

She spent the last eight weeks of her life in the nearby Sobell House Hospice which lcares for people with life-limiting illnesses.

Mrs Dann, who lives in Norfolk, said: “That the doctor didn’t think it was possible for someone so young to get bowel cancer.”

Ms Dann was engaged and had planned to marry in November but was too ill for the wedding to go ahead.

Her mother, who was by her side when she died, said: “She was amazingly stoical through it all.

“She was very caring and loving and she was very concerned about us because we were in hospital for most of the time.”

Ms Dann grew up near Fakenham in Norfolk and studied at Leeds University.

She moved to Oxford six years ago for her work.

Donations to Beating Bowel Cancer can be made by visiting justgiving.com/alexandradann



Blood in your faeces or bleeding from your rectum

A change to your normal bowel habits that persists for more than three weeks, such as diarrhoea, constipation or passing stools more frequently than usual

Unexplained weight loss

Abdominal pain


Average number of new cases of bowel cancer per year in Oxfordshire - 396

Average number of deaths from bowel cancer per year in Oxfordshire - 163