Brad's Never2Young Story (diagnosed age 32)

On the 9th April 2018, aged 32 years young, after having a colonoscopy, I was diagnosed with bowel cancer.  After further testing - MRI, PET scan and CT scan, the doctors confirmed the cancer had spread through to the muscle wall and into my pelvis area and my lymph nodes. 

The first step of my treatment plan was to have chemo and radiation for 6 weeks to shrink the tumor in my lower rectal area. The next step was having surgery called a pelvic exenteration on the 10th October 2018.  The operation took 16 hours where they removed my lower bowel, bladder and prostate. I have now been permanently left with a colostomy and urostomy.  I was in hospital for almost 2 months.

My recovery has been slow and I’ve had many complications such as 27 blood transfusions, urine leak, blood clots in legs and lungs, many infections, in and out of hospital and I still have a nurse coming each day to dress my many wounds.

The biggest challenges I have faced since being diagnosed is being left permanently with a colostomy and urostomy and also having my prostate removed. 

BCA0279 NTY 2019 News banner Brad McDonald 1

Knowing what I do now, having been through bowel cancer myself, my one piece of advice to other young people is watch for symptoms and seek medical advice straight away – don’t wait!

I am a fighter and still fighting for the chance to grow old and see my three kids (aged 8, 2 and 1) grow up and have kids of their own.  They are my strength and make me want to push forward and beat this!

 BCA0279 NTY 2019 News banner Brad McDonald 2

Never Too Young Awareness Week

WHAT: A dedicated week (3-9 June 2019) during Bowel Cancer Awareness Month honouring people who have been diagnosed with bowel cancer under the age of 50 and are now living with or beyond the disease, as well as honouring the memory of those who have passed away from young-onset bowel cancer. Sharing photos and stories to raise community awareness of bowel cancer and provide support to young people diagnosed with the disease.

WHEN: Held annually in June each year.

WHY: 1,413 Australians under the age of 50 are diagnosed with bowel cancer each year, and that number is growing. We’re not okay with that. You’re not either. Let’s shout it out and shake things up.

WHO: If you are living with or beyond young-onset bowel cancer or are a loved one  - we’d love you to join our community of #Never2Young Champions, and to encourage your friends, family and everyone else you know (and maybe even people you don’t) to support Never Too Young Awareness Week too.

Register now to become a #Never2Young Champion and help us spread the word that you’re never too young to have bowel cancer this Never Too Young Awareness Week.

We'll send you further details on how you can get involved, as well as a copy of the latest Never Too Young Awareness Week sign for you to share.


Banner Bowel Cancer Australia Helpline
Support Bowel Cancer Australia
Bowel Cancer Australia Bowel Cancer App