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Woman Thanks Comic Ed Byrne For ‘Life Saving’ Cancer Joke

December 5, 2022

    A woman who discovered she had bowel cancer after watching comedian Ed Byrne’s stand-up show has thanked him for his “life-saving joke”.

    Jackie Kaine Lang, 60, said Byrne’s routine about going to see a GP about diarrhoea had resonated with her.

    The day after seeing the show in Berwick, Northumberland, Ms Kaines Lang went to see her doctor which led to her being treated seven years ago.

    Byrne, who lost his brother to cancer, said doctors deserved the credit.

    Ms Kaines Lang said the Irish comic told a “long, convoluted joke” which involved a “reference to someone going to see their GP because they had a long-standing case of diarrhoea”.

    She said: “I thought ‘do you know I have had diarrhoea for over three weeks, I ought to get this checked out, the guy’s right’.

    “The very next day I did phone my GP.”

    She was later diagnosed with stage three bowel cancer.

    Ms Kaines Lang had been unable to thank Byrne in person for the “life-saving joke”, but BBC Radio Newcastle surprised her with a video call with the comedian.

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    Mr Byrne, who has appeared on numerous TV shows including Mock the Week and Live at the Apollo, said: “I am very happy the whole thing has had a very happy resolution.

    “Of all the routines I have had to suddenly be out there [in the media], why did it have to be the one about me having diarrhoea for three weeks?

    “I would stop short of calling it a life-saving routine. Let me at least share the credit with the doctors, I would say they did most of the life saving.”

    Ms Kaines Lang, who has written a blog post about her diagnosis for Bowel Cancer UK, urged other people to see a doctor if they have concerns.

    “It’s about knowing your body and if things aren’t normal then go and get them checked out,” she advised.

    According to the NHS, common symptoms for bowel cancer include:

    • A persistent change in bowel habit – going to the loo more often, with looser, runnier poos and sometimes abdominal pain
    • Blood in the poo without other symptoms of piles (haemorrhoids)
    • Abdominal pain, discomfort or bloating always brought on by eating – sometimes resulting in a reduction in the amount of food eaten and weight loss
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