Last month I participated in an Inspired Adventure called Hike for Health. My part in the adventure was choosing to trek sections of The Great Wall of China to raise awareness and funds for Bowel Cancer Australia. It also became a great motivator for me to improve my physical health and challenge myself in more ways than one.
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 biggest challenge I faced as someone diagnosed with bowel cancer under 50 was getting my symptoms taken seriously by doctors, even though my father had had bowel cancer with liver metastases.
I was diagnosed with bowel cancer a week before my 31st birthday. I had been experiencing a range of symptoms for approximately six months including bloating, mucous in my stools, diarrhoea and bleeding.
I saw my GP who referred me for a colonoscopy. When I woke up, I was given the news that I had bowel cancer.
In medical school I was taught the symptoms of bowel cancer early on in my training. I also learned that bowel cancer is a disease of the middle aged.
I was told that anyone in their 50’s onwards with stomach or back pain, loss of weight, change in appetite or bowel habit, nausea, fatigue, sweating at night or bleeding should be investigated.