In November 2019 my sister, who had just turned 34, was diagnosed with Stage 3 rectal cancer. They suspected from a biopsy that she may have a genetic disorder called Lynch Syndrome.
With a strong family history of different cancers including bowel cancer, I thought I should go and have a colonoscopy.
So, I went to a GP and with my sister’s diagnosis and family history the doctor agreed and sent a referral through to a specialist.
I was lucky to not have a long wait because at the end of January 2020 I was diagnosed with Stage 3 bowel cancer.
I underwent surgery to remove the tumour in February and was recommended to do six months of chemotherapy due to the cancer having spread to my lymph nodes.
Without the knowledge of my sister’s cancer and the possibility of her having Lynch Syndrome I don’t think I would be here today to write this story.
Although I did have symptoms, I would have had no idea they were related to bowel cancer at my age.
I also believe doctors would have put it down to similar things they did for my sister for six months.
My fatigue could have been blamed on having a young child who woke regularly at night and my bowel irregularities to food intolerances or irritable bowel syndrome.
If Lynch Syndrome had been picked up with my mum’s third cancer my sister and I both would have been having yearly colonoscopies and avoided our cancers progressing to Stage 3.
Although I am grateful for treatment, chemotherapy negatively impacted my life drastically. Now we have the knowledge of our genetic condition I can have regular checks to pick up any re-occurring cancers as early as possible.