I'm Daniel, I’m 33 years old and I’m growing a beard this December.
I decided to participate in Decembeard this year because I have seen firsthand the difference early and late detection can make.
My sister, Leanne was diagnosed with Stage IV Bowel Cancer at the age of 30.
For nearly a year she was experiencing a range of symptoms, but not one seemed to know what was wrong.
Finally, in July 2011 she had an ultrasound which revealed numerous masses that would later be diagnosed as bowel cancer.
Leanne fought hard for 18 months, but due to the cancer being found at such a late stage there were no surgical options available.
Chemo & radiation managed to shrink some of the tumours, but they kept coming back.
Leanne passed away in December 2012.
Due to Leanne's diagnosis, my wife Jess was more aware of the symptoms.
After experiencing a large bleed, she spoke with a doctor who dismissed it as Traveller’s Diarrhoea.
The bleeding was recurrent for the following twelve months and so Jess decided to bring it up with her regular doctor who immediately arranged for Jess to have a colonoscopy.
A small tumour was found and she was diagnosed with Stage 1 bowel cancer.
She was 29 years old.
Jess underwent surgery, and has since been declared ‘cancer free’.
Bowel Cancer is not just an old person’s disease.
It can affect anyone of any age.
That is why I am supporting Bowel Cancer Australia this Decembeard, to raise awareness and remind people that you are never too young to be told you have bowel cancer and that you need to be an advocate for your own health.
I was so appreciative of Bowel Cancer Australia for the support they offered to my wife and me during her initial diagnosis.
She now participates in the Peer-to-Peer support program to try and help others in a similar situation.
I hope that by sharing my story, I will help stop another family from losing a loved one to this disease.
90% of bowel cancer cases can be successfully treated if detected early.
For more information about Decembeard or to sign up visit decembeard.org.au
So if you think something isn’t right, talk to your doctor.