Bowel Cancer Stories

I had just returned from working in the outback when my son pestered me to have a medical check-up as I was carrying a little extra weight from living the good life.

Off I went to my doctor for the usual - prostate, blood pressure, bloods and a general check-up. When I returned to the doctor for the results of the tests, the surgery had a lot of posters up about bowel cancer. After getting the all-clear for test already done, I suggested to my GP that I get a FOB test done as at 58 years old I had not had this test (all free tests where complicated to use). I had not experienced any symptoms but my GP agreed and gave me the appropriate tests.
It was September when I visited my GP. I was experiencing a low mood and significant fatigue. A blood test showed my iron to be at a count of 6 so I was promptly booked in for an iron infusion.

My iron deficiency was attributed to me being a woman (menstruation), a mother (having lost blood during delivery and breastfeeding) and a vegetarian (19 years without ever having low iron).

With inconsistent blood results and an iron level which dropped again after the infusion proved none of these to be the cause of my issues.

It’s hard not having control and not knowing what is happening.

I first went to my GP in Nov 2011 after a government bowel screen test sent back a positive result for blood in the stools. My GP recommended a colonoscopy, which I had in late February 2012. I was shocked to find out I had rectal cancer. There was no indication and no family history of bowel cancer either.


My mum was in her mid to late 40s when she was diagnosed with bowel cancer. She died at the age of 50, when I was 27, 11 years ago this year.

Mum had experienced symptoms for some time, starting with bowel upsets, stomach pain and changes in her bowel habits. The doctors suggested it was gastro, then Irritable Bowel Syndrome - you name it, they suggested it. When I look back it felt as though they were fobbing her off. They never suggested looking into what was causing the problems.


In April 2010, I suffered a huge amount of bleeding when I went to the toilet.  I had no warning signs – it just happened out of the blue.  It was so bad that I went straight to the emergency ward at the hospital.  I think they thought it was just haemorrhoids so I was given a DRE (digital rectal examination) and the doctor took some blood and sent me home. 

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