When I think of bowel cancer, I think of old men.

Well, I did until at age 33 I was diagnosed with stage 3 rectal cancer.

I haven’t told many people it’s rectal cancer.

For some reason I get embarrassed.

I feel like at my age it should be breast cancer, or ovarian cancer.

Not bowel cancer.

In hindsight I had symptoms.

Lethargic, bloating, abdominal pain.

I just kept putting it down to not enough sleep, I had my period or was getting my period.

I ignored it all though, and just got on with life.

If I hadn’t ignored my symptoms, if I had gone to my GP when things changed and had symptoms that were unusual for me, maybe it would’ve been caught earlier.

Maybe I’d still be able to have children, maybe I wouldn’t be going through menopause at age 34, maybe I’d have saved myself three major surgeries, weeks in hospital, radiation and chemotherapy.

Maybe I’d still be getting married in 3 weeks.

Maybe it wouldn’t have though, because who gets bowel cancer at age 33?

In the end, I only got checked after I ended up vomiting following being constipated for a few days and went to emergency.

I was transferred via ambulance to Flinders where I spent the next two weeks and was given my cancer diagnosis and had my first surgery.

The point of all this is this: People DO get diagnosed with bowel cancer at age 33.

There was a girl in the bed next to me who was only 36 and had also just been diagnosed with bowel cancer.

It isn’t just for old people.

Please don’t ignore symptoms.

If something is out of the ordinary for yourself, get it checked.

Have bloods taken.

Don’t brush it off.