I was 28 when I was diagnosed with bowel cancer in January 2011.
I’d had rectal bleeding, changed bowel habits and stomach pain for a while but had put off investigating the symptoms – I was living in China at the time so I figured it was either an intestinal infection that I couldn't seem to shake or a reaction to something I’d eaten.
I was diagnosed with bowel cancer in May 2011 after experiencing changes to my bowel habits over approximately 2 months, which was followed by abdominal pain. This led me to my GP who thought the stomach upsets were nothing serious so prescribed a reflux medication and sent me on my way.
I soon returned to my GP after experiencing rectal bleeding, when he then referred me for a faecal occult blood test immediately.
I was diagnosed with bowel cancer at 44 years old.
I went to see my GP after about twelve months of changed bowel habits and intermittent rectal bleeding, which I assumed was caused by haemorrhoids. The pain I had been experiencing on and off had become quite bad, so I wanted to talk to my GP about other treatment options. I was given a colonoscopy as part of this visit – and that’s when they discovered the tumour in my rectum.
I went to my GP in early 2009 complaining of tiredness and lethargy, rectal bleeding and a change in my bowel habits. But because of my age and the fact that I had recently given birth, I was given only a blood test and told that further investigation wouldn’t be necessary. The blood test showed low iron levels so my tiredness was put down to that.
My symptoms were fairly vague. In January 2010 I had one incident of a very upset tummy, I had had slight rectal bleeding for about 8 months but put it down to having haemorrhoids from having had a baby in the past year, and my bowel movements had been more regular.
I was actually at the GP in January 2010 about getting my moles checked for cancer when right at the end I mentioned the above symptoms. My GP who I now thank for my life, said that at my age I should have nothing and immediately referred me to a gastroenterologist. Cancer was the furthest thing from my mind.