We all need to know that cancer does not discriminate. I am a healthy fit woman, with no history of bowel cancer in my family, yet it affected me.
I was diagnosed with bowel cancer at the age of 50 after participating in the National Bowel Cancer Screening program. I received the positive results approximately two weeks after sending the test away.
Three weeks later I was booked in for a colonoscopy where they found a 4cm polyp. I was re-scheduled for a polypectomy to remove the polyp, however during the operation my bowel was perforated which resulted in a longer than expected stay in hospital.
Three days later I was told the polyp was cancerous. I was scheduled for surgery three weeks later and given a temporary ileostomy (for three months in total). My initial contact after surgery with medical staff really encouraged me and gave me strength.
The surprising part for me was the fact I had only had a colonoscopy two years prior due to pre-existing diverticulitis, yet there was no sign of a polyp, let alone a cancerous one.
I didn’t need chemotherapy or radiotherapy, so I do consider myself to be lucky. With having the stoma I did have to learn what I could and could no longer eat. There was a lot of emphasis placed on chewing foods well and drinking adequate fluids (2-3 litres) per day. I was helped a lot by the stoma therapist who outlined the foods to avoid and the food recommended.
One thing I would recommend to those receiving a bowel screen kit is to get in and do the test straight away. The sooner you test for it the sooner you can act on it.
Real Life Stories
|Ben's story (28, VIC)|
I was 28 when I was diagnosed with bowel cancer in January 2011. I’d had rectal bleeding, changed bowel habits and stomach pain for a while but had put off investigating the symptoms – I was living in China at the time so I figured it was either an intestinal infection that I couldn't seem to shake or a reaction to something I’d [ ... ]