Bowel Cancer Stories

In September 2011 I was feeling unwell and always feeling full even when I wasn’t eating and felt as though I was gaining weight especially around tummy area.
My husband & I had just shifted to Melbourne from Mildura (2010) and we were building a new house. I thought that maybe I was exhausted and stressed.
I started walking again thinking that maybe this would help my mind, but that did not help. I was still feeling full and tummy pains increased.

I had not been feeling well for a couple of months, tired, lost weight, feeling sick, and then I had 2 episodes of rectal bleeding, the second worse than the first. I went to my GP, after having done some research. I wanted a referral for a colonoscopy. My GP was initially hesitant to refer me on as he thought it was possibly only haemorrhoids, I knew this wasn’t correct. I had blood tests and I was referred to a general surgeon for a colonoscopy.

A week after the colonoscopy, the specialist looking after me told me I had bowel cancer low down in my bowel and it appeared the rectum was also involved. Arrangements were made for a flexible sigmoidoscopy and a CT scan.


I had a bowel cancer test in November 2006 which came back all clear, therefore when symptoms started occurring in February 2007 I ignored them, at the age of 57, blamed my new job, the change of lunch hours etc. Initially the symptoms were changes in my bowel habits, rectal bleeding with froth and bubbles. Eventually the symptoms started to get serious, with some stomach pain, a heaviness in the back passage and generally feeling uncomfortable. In September 2007 I couldn’t ignore any of this any longer.

In May 2015, I saw a doctor for what I thought was severe constipation. He prescribed some common medicines used to treat constipation which did not work for me, in fact made me vomit.

The vomiting became so severe I ended up calling an ambulance to take me to the local hospital where they "diagnosed" severe constipation and followed up with the usual medicines again. The vomiting continued and there was certainly no bowel movement.

Finally, on the Saturday the Doctors organised an x ray. They diagnosed a "blockage" which could possibly be cancer. They then transferred me to the closest major hospital where I had a CT scan. This scan confirmed the blockage was bowel cancer.

My name is Barbara and I was first diagnosed with rectal cancer in 2015, three days after I turned 60. I am the youngest of six children, mum and dad lived till 85 and 91 respectively and there is no record of any cancer in my family history.

I had been experiencing some bleeding, but both my daughters had had the same and were both given a diagnosis of colitis, so I thought I would be told the same. I also had blood tests done which indicated NO bowel or ovarian cancer! It was therefore a great shock to be given the “Big C “ news.

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