I was only two years old when I lost my grandmother to bowel cancer.
My Grandmother and my Auntie, were both diagnosed at ages 60 and 40 years respectively. By the time my grandmother was diagnosed, the cancer was terminal. My Auntie was checked out for bowel cancer due to the high family history of the disease. I was here in Australia when she was diagnosed with bowel cancer in Brazil. She had the chance to fight it but could not stand the pain caused by the radiotherapy treatments. I was fortunate enough to be able to visit her, but by that stage she had already given up her fight and was waiting to die.
My GP organised for me to have a colonoscopy at the age of 23. I was found to have polyps which thankfully were benign and able to be removed. I am now checked regularly, every two years, and I will continue to get checked for the rest of my life to help prevent bowel cancer from affecting me and others in my family.
My brothers and father are also vigilant about getting checked regularly, having experienced first hand the devastating effects of this disease.