Chloe Evans, 21 from Dudley
My dad Wayne sadly passed away from bowel cancer in May 2013, aged 41, when I was just 15 years old.
In 2008 he had visited the doctors with severe stomach cramps and was sent for tests. When he heard nothing back, he assumed his results were normal and thought nothing else of it.
Three years later he still had extreme abdominal pain and was admitted for an emergency hernia operation. He was in so much pain that the doctors started to wonder if it was actually a hernia or something worse. We were all extremely shocked to find out that scans taken three years earlier had shown a polyp, but the receptionist at the surgery had wrongly filed his results away. In that time, it had turned cancerous and surgeons told him he was inoperable.
He was diagnosed with advanced bowel cancer in December 2011, which had spread to his lung. I was 13, struggling to adjust to high school and studies. At the same time my dad was having chemotherapy and operations. After the first cycle of chemotherapy in February 2012, he had a heart attack then later he had a seizure.
We hope our dad’s story encourages others to follow up with their doctors if they feel like something is wrong.
He passed away with my mum, my sister and I by his side. He called us in to the room to be with him, as if he knew he was going to die. He was the backbone of our family and his death left a hole in our lives. My parents had been married for 20 years.
We were told that because my dad was diagnosed with bowel cancer at a young age, my sister and I may also be diagnosed young. Now we know it’s important to always look out for any symptoms and get anything checked out.
If the polyp had been removed when he first had his tests and the receptionist hadn’t filed away his results, he would be cancer-free and still with us today. Our family won a legal case against the practice for negligence.
We hope our dad’s story encourages others to follow up with their doctors if they feel like something is wrong. We don’t want anyone else to go through what we did.
Now I design and make bows to raise money for Bowel Cancer UK and every year we hold a ‘Wear a Bow day’ on 18 May, the anniversary of my dad’s death. The bows can be ordered on my Chloe’s Bows Facebook page.
We’re improving access to treatment and care for advanced bowel cancer
Nearly 10,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with advanced bowel cancer each year. This is when the cancer has spread to somewhere else in the body, such as the liver or lungs. People with advanced bowel cancer typically have poorer outcomes but access to surgery and drugs can help to extend life and can sometimes be curative.
We are determined to improve survival rates and support for people with advanced bowel cancer. We want to see improved access to high-quality treatment to ensure longer survival and a better quality of life for people, including:
- Increasing survival rates and improving holistic support for patients and their families
- Reducing inequalities in access to potential life-saving liver surgery
- Improving access to cancer drugs based on clinical need and not postcode
- Providing better communications and support for people with palliative and end of life care needs