Bowel Cancer Stories


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 was very frightening to realise I might die and leave my two small children (aged one and three at diagnosis) without their mum after being diagnosed with stage three bowel cancer at the age of 36 in April 2012.
I noticed occasional rectal bleeding and after about six weeks I went to my GP. She didn't think it was urgent but recommended a colonoscopy. After a six week wait and a substantial increase in rectal bleeding, the colonoscopy showed a tumour in my mid to low rectum, plus two polyps in my bowel.
My advice to anyone else going through this is to give yourself sufficient time to adjust to the changes in your body. Seek support early. Use every service that is made available to you. Most importantly - be kind to yourself!
After a positive screen test in 2009 at age 50, I was instructed to have a colonoscopy. The procedure in 2010 found a polyp which was removed and as a result, my surgeon suggested I have a further colonoscopy in 2013.

This procedure uncovered a small cancer in the left descending colon.
On a Saturday night, in September 2011, I was supposed to be out with my friends, but stayed home because I had back pain. I called mum because even though I was 25, when I was in pain I needed my mum. My parents were out on a date night, but came home to take me to the hospital. I had never had random pain, and this was intense. After waiting for ages in the ER waiting room, I wasn’t too sure what was worse, the pain or the movie “Hairspray” blasting from the front of the room. When I finally got seen, they did a blood test to check my kidneys. The test came back clear but showed low haemoglobin levels which caused the doctors some concern, but no explanation for the pain. They then ask me 20 questions about my back – have I lifted something heavy, did I hurt it etc.

I was 59 years old and in fairly good health when I was diagnosed with cancer of the left descending colon stage 3B.

I was a dressmaker and theatrical costume maker working casually from home, teaching dressmaking at evening college and volunteering for several not-for-profit organisations.

After 4 pregnancies, I experienced chronic haemorrhoids which caused some occasional discomfort but had no visible bleeding.

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