My grandmother (fondly known as ‘Gran’) was unexpectedly diagnosed with bowel cancer in early 2021. Before her diagnosis she was placed on a waiting list for a colonoscopy for close to 12 months. Unfortunately, various GP attendances prior to this procedure had not uncovered the likelihood of this diagnosis, and therefore, we were running behind the clock.

This news come as somewhat of a shock to all and the fact that so much time had past without a clear diagnosis or medical treatment, was a devastating realisation for those close to her.

Fast forward to almost a year later, and we are now taking things one day at a time. Fortunately, our beautiful gran is back in the comfort of her home with her canine companions, enjoying most of her regular activities, as she did before. We appreciate that many others are not so fortunate.

We were approached by Bowel Cancer Australia to share our story to raise awareness around the importance of bowel cancer screening at all ages, but particularly those aged 74 and above.

This journey has been full of GP and specialist appointments, numerous hospital trips, travelling away from home for medical treatment, rounds of radiotherapy, lots of emotions and many late nights researching anything that will make a small difference to everyday quality of life. Reaching out to the Bowel Care Nursers at Bowel Cancer Australia was one of the best decisions we made.

The support we have received on a number of levels has been second to none, and we will be forever grateful for their ongoing support in what has been a challenging year.

As a granddaughter and support person, watching one of the most important people in my life go through this process was immensely difficult and at times, heartbreaking. Early screening for bowel cancer could have potentially captured an earlier diagnosis and may have avoided the extent of medical treatment required at a later stage.

We hope that sharing our story inspires others to be vigilant and screen early, especially those aged over 74.

Katie & Gran