A FORMER carer in Redditch who was just days away from being moved into a hospice claims cannabis oil helped to shrink an "inoperable" tumour on her bowel.

Megan Smith was diagnosed with advanced bowel cancer in January, months after she first visited a doctor complaining of symptoms but was told it was probably irritable bowel syndrome.

The 25-year-old quickly began treatment but had a severe reaction to the chemotherapy and was later told the cancer had spread to her lung and liver.

Her family began researching alternative treatments and managed to raise £20,000 towards Avastin treatment - which had a 14 per cent chance of shrinking the tumour - and full extract cannabis oil, which Megan found would take the edge off the chemo's side effects.

But in April, Megan, from Kidderminster, began experiencing unbearable pain and was referred for end of life care earlier this month.

Sister Terri said: "Megan's pain became very intense. She was screaming in pain and we didn't know why.

"She was needing morphine every day and the doctors and nurses thought it was because the cancer was getting worse. They referred her to the palliative care team and wanted to put her in a hospice."

But the following day, on August 12, the family finally got the positive news they were hoping for, when the results of a recent CT scan revealed a significant shrinkage to the tumour, which had perforated her bowel, causing the intense pain.

"They told us in A&E they could remove the whole bowel which would mean Megan would have a stoma bag," said Terri.

"It wasn't an option to operate before and now they were saying this. We couldn't believe it.

"The doctors couldn't believe it either."

Two weeks later, Megan is recovering well from surgery, and her family remain convinced that cannabis oil played a big part in the turnaround.

Terri said: "Initially Megan was on a low dose - around two capsules a day - and that helped with the pain and side effects of her treatment. Then as her body began to tolerate it more we increased that to 10 capsules a day.

"We think that's what made the cancer shrink. Her hospital treatments had such a small chance of working so we didn't have a choice but to explore alternative options.

"There's so much information out there that it can be overwhelming but we did our research."

There is still much debate among scientists on the benefits and risks of using cannabis oil to treat cancer and products containing THC - the main psychoactive compound - are illegal in the UK.

Terri added: "We're not out of the woods yet. Megan has had a major operation and will spend the next 12 weeks building her strength up before starting treatment again.

"I want people to know my sister's story because, even though you never want to give up, a lot of people do."