Bowel Cancer Stories

At 25, you certainly never expect to be told you have bowel cancer.

I was admitted to hospital in early February 2014 for suspected appendicitis, as I had sharp stomach pains and was generally unwell. Blood tests and ultrasounds were carried out but nothing seemed to be wrong.

Hi there, I’m Gem. I’m 31, and until August 2017 considered myself fit and healthy (or at least working on it at the gym and boot camp and generally doing the right thing).

My world got turned upside down last year when I was diagnosed with Stage IV bowel cancer. The technical terms on top of my forms, Stage IV Metastatic Colorectal Cancer – that is cancer that has spread to other organs. Goodness I went into hospital with gallstone pain…. And came out with cancer. At 30 years of age you don’t expect that bombshell when waking up from surgery to remove your gall bladder.

I was diagnosed in October 2015, at the age of 33. In the space of 2 weeks I had a colonoscopy, then CT and MRI scans, which resulted in a clinical diagnosis of Stage 3 Rectal Cancer, due to some lymph nodes appearing to be ‘involved’ on the scans.

I had been experiencing a variety of symptoms in the months leading up to my diagnosis, but the main one was rectal bleeding. I saw my GP who gave me a referral on the spot to a colorectal surgeon, as well as some advice about dietary changes which could have been the cause.

Unfortunately for me, those symptoms disappeared for a time, before returning and then disappearing, and could always be put down to something else. It wasn’t until the bleeding got worse and wouldn’t go away that I attended on that referral. I also felt tired and noticed that I had lost some weight and a blood test revealed that my iron levels were extremely low.

Six years ago at 64, I began to notice blood in my stool and reported it straight away to my GP, who referred me to a colorectal surgeon.  A colonoscopy revealed cancer and an operation was recommended as my best option. I’d estimate that from the moment I noticed the blood to finally being operated on took no more than six weeks, which isn’t very long to come to terms with the fact of bowel cancer.  I was given an ileostomy during surgery, which also took some getting used to.


I was diagnosed with bowel cancer December 2013.

Initially I had been feeling a little tired, which wasn’t normal for me but I didn’t think anything of it. It was only that I start to lose weight for no reason and thought I could feel a lump in my stomach that I decided to see my GP.

I asked to have bloods done and told her I could feel a lump; however the GP said she couldn’t feel anything but agreed to do a set of bloods in case my iron was low.

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