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.
I’d had rectal bleeding and unusual bowel habits for six to eight weeks before going to see my GP in 2008. I was 60 at the time. My GP gave me an internal examination but found nothing. Nonetheless, he was insistent that I see a specialist and made the call while I sat in his surgery, getting me an appointment for the very next day.
I had a colonoscopy within the week and was diagnosed with stage III bowel cancer. I had a CT scan the next day, then an ultrasound for tumour staging.
On 24 January 2010, The Sunday Mail in Queensland ran an article on celebrity health; I was going to turn the page until I saw Lara Bingle in a bikini!
Being a true Aussie bloke, I decided the article needed a closer look and found myself reading a genuinely interesting story.
When I was diagnosed with stage III bowel cancer in 2006, I was 45 years old.
I am a wife and a mother of three (now 23, 20 & 16 years old) and an office manager.
I had no family history of bowel cancer and I led a healthy lifestyle before my diagnosis, although I was told further along the process that I carry the HNPCC gene, which is a strong indicator of the disease.
“It’s an unusual birthday present, but it is probably the best gift I have received.”
Ian, a retired merchant seaman, never thought the simple act of emptying his post box would ultimately save his life.
At 65, Ian, like many Australians, was unaware the risk of developing bowel cancer increased with age. He was physically fit and believed he was in good health. As an active fisherman determined to make the most of his retirement, bowel cancer was the last thing on Ian’s mind.