I am 31 years old and happily married with two children (3 years and 18 months old) and another little boy on the way, due any time now. I'm an Australian Federal Police Officer currently attached to the Specialist Response and Security Tactical Response Team.
Bowel cancer was the last thing on my mind when I started to experience small amounts of rectal bleeding.
I had rectal bleeding and abdomen pain for a year and a half before finally going back to my GP to tell her I thought the diagnosis of piles was wrong!
At one point, there was so much blood and mucous that I thought I had haemorrhaged. My GP finally referred me to another doctor who gave me a colonoscopy in January 2008, where he discovered a tumour and a number of polyps, which were removed.
I was diagnosed with bowel cancer (T4 N1 M0) on the 3rd June, 2010.
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.
I’d had rectal bleeding and unusual bowel habits for six to eight weeks before going to see my GP in 2008. I was 60 at the time. My GP gave me an internal examination but found nothing. Nonetheless, he was insistent that I see a specialist and made the call while I sat in his surgery, getting me an appointment for the very next day.
I had a colonoscopy within the week and was diagnosed with stage III bowel cancer. I had a CT scan the next day, then an ultrasound for tumour staging.