I was diagnosed with bowel cancer at 54. I had been feeling tired for some time and had been experiencing pain when I sat down, which I self-diagnosed as haemorrhoids and was treating with herbal cures. I eventually saw my GP after about three months when the pain still hadn’t gone away. The GP gave me a physical examination and sent me for a CT scan, which took a few days to schedule.
Within a week of receiving the results of the scan, I was referred to a colorectal surgeon and soon after had a colonoscopy, which was almost pointless because they couldn’t get the camera past the lump in my colon. More tests were ordered and my tumour was eventually diagnosed as stage 3.
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.
This story is about my mum’s ordeal with bowel cancer.
She was diagnosed in 2005 at the age of 73, but her diagnosis had taken some time. Her rectal bleeding was initially thought to be haemorrhoids, and the GP gave her a cream to treat the condition, but the bleeding persisted and, when she finally had a colonoscopy two months later, they found advanced bowel cancer.