I was diagnosed with bowel cancer a week before my 31st birthday. I had been experiencing a range of symptoms for approximately six months including bloating, mucous in my stools, diarrhoea and bleeding.
I saw my GP who referred me for a colonoscopy. When I woke up, I was given the news that I had bowel cancer.
In medical school I was taught the symptoms of bowel cancer early on in my training. I also learned that bowel cancer is a disease of the middle aged.
I was told that anyone in their 50’s onwards with stomach or back pain, loss of weight, change in appetite or bowel habit, nausea, fatigue, sweating at night or bleeding should be investigated.
I was diagnosed with Stage 4 bowel cancer at age 31. As a tradie, father, husband and mostly healthy guy, or so I thought, I never thought I would hear the words ' its cancer'.
Of the 4.1 million people invited to participate in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program between January 2016 and December 2017, only four in every ten took up the offer according to the latest AIHW report.
The rate was the same as for the previous rolling 2-year period (2015–2016) (41%) and is now hovering at the same rate it was in 2009, before dropping to just 36.1% in 2012.
My story and journey started in June 2016 when diagnosed with stage IV colorectal cancer that spread to the lymph nodes in my pelvis, with secondary metastasis within my liver. I felt at first an emotional numbness, followed by fear and a list of what ifs!