Brent R's bowel cancer story (father diagnosed age 49, VIC)

I’ve seen the effects of bowel cancer first hand and know I never want to go through it. My Dad was diagnosed with bowel cancer in February 2000. He was just 49 years old. He had had some rectal bleeding and back pain so went to the GP who sent him for a colonoscopy.

After this plus scans and blood tests, Dad was diagnosed with bowel cancer which had spread to the liver. He had successful surgery to remove the cancer from the bowel but when the surgeons opened him up to remove the tumour from his liver, they discovered it had wrapped around the aorta so removal wasn’t possible.

As if this wasn’t enough, Dad had a further reoccurrence of bowel cancer and this time he was left with a stoma after surgery. I was 19 years old at the time but I knew I had to step up and help out as much as I could. Everyday Dad needed help just getting around the house, showering and changing colostomy bags. He became more dependent and towards the end of his life I gave up work and stayed at home as he needed care 24 hours a day. Dad died in April 2002.

I had family and friends to talk to and tell me how strong I was but I felt like I had to keep that bullet proof attitude up and not show any weakness. Two years after Dad died I came home one night and let years of pain out in one blast. I smashed everything I could get my hands on, yelled, screamed and had my loved ones in shock.

I really want to help get the message about bowel cancer out there. I know all cancer is bad but bowel cancer is just not talked about enough.

I have a Bowel Screen Australia kit at home and I’m going to use it. I’m encouraging my brother to do the same.

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