20
Mar
2017

Dad was just 38 at the time

Bowel Cancer Australia

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In 2005 when I was 14, my father was diagnosed with stage 3 bowel cancer.

Dad was just 38 at the time and was given a short chance of surviving five years.

That was almost 12 years ago and he is still with us, happy and healthy today.

Finding out dad had bowel cancer was a complete shock.

Following his diagnosis, he underwent surgery and half of his large intestine was removed.
 
He was then prescribed Xeloda as chemotherapy and, like most cancer patients, experienced a lot of difficulty with the treatment.

Over the next 12 months, he attempted other forms of therapy, but due to our location in a regional area he ended up continuing with the tablets.

It was the hardest thing our family has ever had to deal with to date, but I think it gave us an experience which shaped us into more empathetic and thankful people.
 
At the time, I found it very difficult to deal with what was happening.

Living in rural South Australia, I felt completely isolated and didn’t feel there was anyone who truly understood what I was going through.

I would have loved knowing a resource like Bowel Cancer Australia was available at the time.

I think it’s absolutely fantastic.

As you can understand, age 38 is quite young to receive such a diagnosis.

My father was later diagnosed with Lynch Syndrome (HNPCC), so my family has since gone through genetic testing, another process which helped shape us into the people we are today.

I have inherited the genetic mutation and so I am using my experience to help others, to support them and listen to them.


In the lead up to International Lynch Syndrome Awareness Day (22 March 2017), Bowel Cancer Australia is encouraging all Australians to better understand their bowel cancer family history.

One in 280 Australians is believed to carry the Lynch Syndrome mismatch repair gene fault, according to Lynch Syndrome Australia.

For those with Lynch syndrome, the risk of developing bowel cancer is significantly greater than for those who do not carry the gene.

Unfortunately, Lynch Syndrome Australia estimates that fewer than 5% of individuals with Lynch syndrome are aware they have it.

Until such time as every bowel cancer patient is routinely screened for Lynch syndrome, Bowel Cancer Australia recommends that all bowel cancer patients become aware of the condition and be prepared to broach the discussion with their treating doctor.

If you were under the age of 50 when you were diagnosed with bowel cancer, or are living with a suspected genetic disorder, speak to your treating doctor about having your tumour screened for indicators of Lynch syndrome.

If you have any questions about Lynch syndrome or other genetic mutations please feel free to contact our Bowel Care Nurses on 1800 555 494 or send us an email .
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