I was diagnosed with rectal cancer in January 2014 at age 47. I had first experienced some bleeding and consulted my GP in August 2013 about it. He said it was very common complaint and as I had no risk factors including no family history to come and see him if it didn’t resolve itself in a few months. The bleeding became worse and I also experienced mucus discharge on some occasions and changes in bowel habits with increased frequency.
I was pretty sure everything was OK but just to make sure I took a deep breath and looked on the Bowel Cancer Australia web site. The one thing that really jumped out at me was that 90% of colorectal cancer can be cured if it was caught early enough. I asked myself what percentage I wanted to be in and really it was a no brainer. So I figured if it was cancer and it could be fixed it was best to get that done and not stick my head in the sand and hope it goes away.
I have had three Melanomas over the last 30 years so getting bowel cancer was not that big a surprise to me, I always felt something else would happen.
After participating in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program and not receiving any letter or notification to say they had received my test, I called the department to see what my results showed. I was informed the test was never received, so I requested another kit and went through the process over again.
It’s not so long ago I went to the GP and told her about a few concerns I had and the symptoms that I was experiencing, which my GP considered not to be a big deal. The GP thought it was possibly haemorrhoids.
I decided that I could allow myself to be more relieved, seeing as I had expressed my concerns but the GP had predominantly dismissed it being anything serious…. after all.