Be Bowel Aware: Help Kick Bowel Cancer’s Ass

Bowel Cancer Australia

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Bowel cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in women, after breast cancer, and the third leading cause of cancer deaths in Australian women after lung and breast cancer.

It is a common misconception that bowel cancer is an old man’s disease. Yet the reality is, bowel cancer affects women of all ages, and almost half of all people diagnosed with bowel cancer in Australia each year are women. 

But the good news is that bowel cancer is treatable and beatable if detected early.

That’s why it is so important for Aussie women to be Champions of their own health – to be aware and be active when it comes to bowel cancer.

Bowel Cancer Australia is calling on all Aussie women to help us kick bowel cancer’s ass this March!

To support Aussie women of all ages to be more bowel cancer aware we’ve put together some key information and resources on bowel cancer in women. Including the latest facts, symptoms and risk factors, as well as information about bowel cancer in pregnancy and fertility.

Help us kick bowel cancer’s butt, check out our kick ass Bowel Cancer in Women resources and spread the word with family and friends this 3-10 March.  

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In April 2018, at the age of 29, Christina was diagnosed with Stage 4 bowel cancer.

Emily shares her twin sister's kick ass story to help raise awareness of bowel cancer in women, and that you are never too young to have bowel cancer.

"In January last year my identical twin sister Christina was experiencing pain in her stomach all day. When I arrived home, she advised she was still experiencing pain and we made her attend the Hospital thinking perhaps it was her appendix.

They did an ultrasound and couldn’t see anything but fluid, they questioned ‘colitis’ and said perhaps a cyst burst, although there was no other present. They sent her home and advised if pain persists to then come back.

When the pain became worse in February, she went to her GP who looked at her ultrasounds, ordered bloods and stools and called rapid access to order a colonoscopy to query if she perhaps has Crohns disease. (never suspecting bowel cancer)

Bloods came back and doctor asked her to go on iron tablets as she was iron deficient, anaemic. 

As she awaited her scopes which weren’t booked in until April she was still sick. Vomiting nearly every weekend, cramping etc. In a lot of pain. She then ended up in hospital again after vomiting blood 30th March (week before scopes) as she was due back in a week, they discharged her with some medication for pain and bloating.

The day of her preparation for her scopes (cleanse day) she started vomiting and the cleanse was not working. She ended up in hospital again in emergency at 2am still vomiting which we later found out was caused due to the blockage from the tumour which was leaving only a small ml for anything to get down.

When she had her scopes, the tumour was found and it was said to be cancerous. Surgery was then booked in to remove the tumour and a temporary stoma was given. They then confirmed the cancer is Stage 4 & has spread to her pelvic area including her ovaries/uterus.

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She was recommended to have a large surgery (Peritoneal HIPEC).

In the interim prior to this surgery she received chemo tablets and infusion chemotherapy. During Chemotherapy Christina did experience some side effects, largely neuropathy, ‘first bite’ pain experienced with eating and drinking certain food / fluids, feeling the cold with some pain associated and nausea.

Christina’s HIPEC surgery was ‘successful’ with the doctors believing they have removed all the cancer. Unfortunately, they had to remove her reproductive organs during the surgery but were also able to reverse the Stoma. She has started her chemo tablets again now, awaiting confirmation about fluid on her lungs before going further with infusion chemotherapy.

We are also using this ‘$#*!’ time in our lives as a chance to bring much needed awareness to bowel cancer in the younger generations. Bowel cancer, stool tests, ‘number twos’ is such a taboo topic in a lot of generations but mainly the younger, and especially males. Statistics show the diagnosed cases of bowel cancer is young people is on the rise and if caught early it is treatable. However, that said, due to the amount of causes that are not caught in time, bowel cancer is the second deadliest cancer in Australia – so it needs much more awareness. We strongly recommend anyone experiencing any stomach issues please go see a doctor, and if you are unhappy with the comments or results you receive, please don’t be afraid to seek a second opinion or get a colonoscopy referral. We also would love if younger generations could ban together and remind their parents and loved ones over the age of 45 to do their stool tests / get a colonoscopy. It could seriously save a life!

Obviously being an identical twin, with siblings we too have all now taken part in screening and had our own tests to ensure none of us are too experiencing cancer growth.

Obviously, Christina is not happy about the cards she has been dealt but she has such a great attitude which is helped by our great network of support. Christina is such a tough cookie and is always trying to look on the Brightside and positive side of everything.

No one her age should have to think about the rocky road like this ahead at such a young age.

No one wants to hear ‘you have cancer’.

Being young, recently married – it’s hard to think about the possibility of dying, not being able to have kids of your own – it so much to think of especially at 29 years old.

But she is such a trooper and ‘rolling with the punches’ & trying to raise as much awareness as possible."

Read Emily and Christina’s full story here

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