In 2005 when I was 14, my father was diagnosed with stage 3 bowel cancer. Dad was just 38 at the time and given a low chance of surviving five years. That was eight years ago and he is still with us, happy and healthy today.
Finding out dad had bowel cancer was a complete shock. Following his diagnosis, he underwent surgery and half of his large intestine was removed. He then was prescribed Xeloda as chemotherapy and, like most cancer patients, experienced a lot of difficulty with the treatment. Over the next 12 months, he attempted other forms of therapy but due to our location in a regional area, he ended up continuing with the tablets.
My husband Peter was diagnosed with bowel cancer in June 2012 at age 36. He was referred for a colonoscopy by our GP as he had been experiencing rectal bleeding and a consistent change to his bowel habits.
The colonoscopy results found a tumour which was biopsied and confirmed to be cancerous. Peter was then sent for a CT scan and MRI to confirm locations and check for the possibilities of metastasis.
My mum was in her mid to late 40s when she was diagnosed with bowel cancer. She died at the age of 50, when I was 27, 11 years ago this year.
Mum had experienced symptoms for some time, starting with bowel upsets, stomach pain and changes in her bowel habits. The doctors suggested it was gastro, then Irritable Bowel Syndrome - you name it, they suggested it. When I look back it felt as though they were fobbing her off. They never suggested looking into what was causing the problems.
I believe it is important for all of us to fight to be healthy. After experiencing years of diarrhoea and stomach pain, Mum was diagnosed with bowel cancer at age 55.
After a urinary infection that persisted, Mum’s doctor suggested an ultrasound where ‘masses’ were discovered on her bowels. She was then referred for an abdomen scan.
Prior to her diagnosis in 2006, my wife’s concerns about her health were dismissed as a trivial condition because her only symptoms were occasional and very slight rectal bleeding.
Each time she raised her concerns with her GP, the GP thought the bleeding was related to other things such as beetroot (we ate a lot of vegetables) or haemorrhoids. However after insisting, her GP finally ordered a colonoscopy which showed my wife had late stage bowel cancer, with metastases in the liver and lungs (stage 4).