My mother passed away with breast cancer when I was 10, so I have always been diligent with screening and looking after my health. I would go to my doctor on a regular basis to make sure everything was all OK.
In February of this year I had been quite tired, had a lot of back and abdominal pain so I went for a check-up with my GP. Blood tests taken read an Hb of 72 so I was called immediately to go to hospital for a blood transfusion. From there I underwent a colonoscopy and gastroscopy to find out where the blood loss was coming from.
I was diagnosed with bowel cancer on 23 June 2010 at the age of 49.
I was diagnosed in 2008 when I was 54. I had been complaining to doctors for years about various symptoms but I was never sent for tests – not even a bowel screen – until I started bleeding from the rectum.
Who would have thought that giving blood could lead to a diagnosis of bowel cancer? I certainly never did. In early 2009, I went along to my local blood bank to make a donation and was told I was anaemic.
I saw my GP who is, thankfully, very proactive and sent me for a range of tests to identify the cause of the anaemia.