Bowel Cancer Stories


I was 32yo when I was finally diagnosed with bowel cancer. I say finally as I had been going to the GPs for just over a year with issues.

My bowel motions had changed, and I was finding it extremely difficult to go to the toilet. I would try and go about 10 times a day, but it was excruciating. I loved it when I got diarrhea cause that meant it didn’t hurt to go to the toilet. I would cry every time I went to the toilet, even if I couldn’t go it still hurt.

After a positive result from the National Bowel Cancer screening test, my GP gave me a referral to get a colonoscopy. This was about July 2011. The colonoscopy could not be completed as a tumour was blocking the scope from moving properly up the bowel. I was then sent for a scan (virtual colonoscopy) to find out more. This showed a large tumour. Then I went back to my GP with the results. He confirmed that I had bowel cancer then referred me to a specialist for surgery. This was in August 2011. After seeing the sugeon and getting CT scans, I was booked in for surgery at the beginning of September. I had 30 cm of my bowel and the lymph nodes in the area removed. Post-operative testing confirmed bowel cancer, that it had spread to a number of the lymph nodes and was classed as Stage 111C. I was then referred to a specialist for chemo treatment. It took about 5 weeks to recover from the surgery, get a porta-cath put in and be ready for the chemo treatment. This was planned to be 12 treatments lasting 3 days every 2 weeks. The Chemo started in late October 2011.

I was diagnosed with Bowel cancer in June 2017. I was 54 and the treatment team said that it was between stage 2 and stage 3.

I’ve had stomach issues for most of my life and have learned through experience not to eat fatty foods or full fat dairy.


My name is Martin and I’m a happily married father of three and grandfather of one, working as a General Manager in the building industry. I want people to hear my story so that they understand that bowel cancer can happen to anyone at any time.

I was sent the bowel screen test kit in 2006. I took the test and the results came back negative. In mid-April 2011, I noticed blood in my stools and thankfully I acted immediately. I am normally a procrastinator, but in this instance I acted swiftly. I saw my GP straightaway and was referred to a gastroenterologist. I had a colonoscopy in June and was diagnosed with stage 2 bowel cancer, which had gone into the bowel wall. I had often wondered how I would react if ever I was told of such a problem. I was actually very calm and I guess my practical nature just said….ok, that’s the prognosis, now how do we deal with it? That’s exactly what I said to the doctor.


Unlike many people, I had severe symptoms for some time before I got my diagnosis. For four weeks during the time of seeing my doctor and being diagnosed I had very bad stomach pains and was completely unable to eat. 

My condition continued to deteriorate all the time – the stomach pain came and went, becoming sharper and more intense as time passed, and I was generally very sick. By the end of this 4 week period, I was unable to walk.
During this time I saw four GPs, each of whom had a different opinion about what was wrong with me and even when I was eventually hospitalised the bowel cancer wasn’t picked up.
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