At just 35 years of age, Marty was diagnosed with Stage 4 bowel cancer, metastasising to his liver, lungs and lymphatic system.
“Husband to Kristy, father to Hugo, son to Jen and Athol, brother to Jeremy. The list of people affected goes on, but the reaction is the same. How can this be, at just 35 years of age? Isn’t bowel cancer for people over 50? The answer is - not anymore.” says wife Kristy.
“Treatments have been hectic with starting a new immunotherapy drug. I had a severe reaction to it and I ended up in hospital. Plus our toddler has had to have two surgeries as well. So yeah, things are pretty hectic at the moment!”
“Right from the start I’ve said that I want to turn this negative into a positive by trying to raise awareness of bowel cancer in younger people and changing the attitude in general (especially in men) of putting off going to the doctor until it’s too late,” adds Marty.
Marty has known his GP for 20+ years. It’s safe to assume the relationship is strong, yet work commitments deterred him from prioritising his health. He would take a list of outstanding issues to his GP, rather than approaching the doctor with just one at a time. Allowing them to manifest without early intervention. A common theme between many of their male family and friends.
Marty and his family have joined Bowel Cancer Australia’s Decembeard campaign to share their message. Encouraging men of all ages to take accountability and prioritise their health by building a stronger relationship with their GPs, and to highlight the need for more treatment options for people like Marty with metastatic bowel cancer.
“Experience-wise, there are good days and bad days, but by focusing on the good it helps to get through the bad,” says Marty.
“I met another guy last week in hospital who has the same staging as me. He was told a month ago that he could start chemo. He went in for his first round and they told him it had progressed too much and that he only has about 2-3 weeks left at best. This just proves how putting off going to the doctor for even a week can be the difference,” Marty adds.