My mother passed away with breast cancer when I was 10, so I have always been diligent with screening and looking after my health. I would go to my doctor on a regular basis to make sure everything was all OK.
In February of this year I had been quite tired, had a lot of back and abdominal pain so I went for a check-up with my GP. Blood tests taken read an Hb of 72 so I was called immediately to go to hospital for a blood transfusion. From there I underwent a colonoscopy and gastroscopy to find out where the blood loss was coming from.
Even though there is a history of bowel cancer in the family, I never thought it would happen to me.
My diet had been considerably healthy throughout my life and I had previously used a Rotary Bowelscan kit, which had come back clear. This all changed in July 2007 when I was diagnosed with Dukes stage 3 bowel cancer.
I was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2004 at the age of 60.
The only symptom I had experienced was rectal bleeding – not a lot, but enough to think it might be a problem – so I went to my GP. After looking into my family history, we think my grandmother might have had bowel cancer too, but these things were rarely diagnosed properly back then so we can’t be certain.
During a routine pap smear in August 2011, I mentioned to my doctor that I’d had an uncle who died from bowel cancer at only 51. Immediately the doctor suggested I give a stool sample and, when the results came back positive, a colonoscopy was arranged. A small tumour was found during the procedure, which fortunately was only at stage one.
My doctors recommended surgery to remove the tumour as my best option so I went ahead with an operation. No stoma was required. I started chemotherapy after surgery to help minimise the risk of the cancer returning and was given 5-FU, Oxaliplatin, FOLFOX and Leucovorin. The chemotherapy caused a little nausea and made me feel tired at times, but overall it was actually better than I expected. I was given the all clear after surgery but I will know for sure when I have a follow up colonoscopy in August 2012, plus I need to have blood tests every 3 months for the next 12 months.
I started experiencing a change in my bowel habits, stomach pains and rectal bleeding in February 2010 so I saw my GP and was sent for blood tests to investigate the cause of the problems. The results came back normal. However, a month later when the bleeding persisted I was referred for a colonoscopy in mid April.
The colonoscopy revealed a 4cm tumour on my sigmoid colon.