Life after a diagnosis of bowel cancer
Over 15,000 Australians are diagnosed with bowel cancer each year. You are not alone.
All of Bowel Cancer Australia's buddies in our peer-to-peer bowel cancer network have been affected by bowel cancer and are willing to talk to others about their experience.
Many members also appear in our publications and on this website telling their story to help others.
Increasingly, members are finding new ways to make the most of their own bowel cancer experience, and have become more actively involved in the work of the charity by delivering health information talks to the public in their places of work, accompanying the Big Bowel exhibit as it tours the country, or becoming involved in awareness and advocacy campaigns to help saves lives from this common cancer.
Visit Bowel Cancer Australia's Talk to a Buddy: Peer-to-Peer Bowel Cancer Network webpage, to find out more about the community.
Visit Bowel Cancer Australia's Bowel Cancer Stories: In My Own Words webpage, to read stories from bowel cancer patients and their families.
Living with bowel cancer
A diagnosis of bowel cancer has huge implications for the individual, their family and friends and therefore help should not be limited to medical issues. People need support in a range of ways and in our Finding Support: Other Resources webpage you will find information on emotional, practical and financial information for the weeks and months following the diagnosis.
Will the bowel cancer come back?
After you have had successful treatment, you will need to have regular check-ups. At first these will be every few months, to check that the cancer has not returned. These check-ups will usually include tests that you had to diagnose the original cancer – such as blood tests and a colonoscopy. The tests will also check that the cancer did not spread.
If your bowel cancer was diagnosed and treated early, then there is a very good chance that it will not recur after treatment. If it has taken a long time to diagnose and treat, there is a greater chance that it might recur. However, even if your cancer does recur, it can still be treated with a combination of further surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, depending on your personal treatment plan.
Life after bowel cancer
Many people diagnosed with bowel cancer will undergo successful treatment, and life can soon get back to normal. Remember, bowel cancer is one of the most curable cancers if caught early enough. Keeping positive during treatment, and asking for support when you need it, can help you get through the traumatic experience of having cancer.
You will be regularly tested to check that the cancer has not returned. If after five years, it has not returned, you are considered clear and it's time to celebrate! Throw a big party with all your family and friends, or treat yourself and your loved ones to a holiday or a special night out. You certainly deserve it!