Beating bowel cancer together

Diana Johnson-Hill, East Horsley

I was diagnosed with bowel cancer in November 2018.

Earlier in the year, I was experiencing severe stomach pain. I went to the GP and was prescribed medication for acid reflux. I wasn’t particularly worried. However the pain wasn’t getting any better, so I went back to the GP and was told that I had suspected gallstones and to stop eating fat.

I had an ultrasound on my stomach and blood tests, but these came back clear. I was then asked to keep a food diary.

The pain was just getting worse and I felt I wasn’t getting anywhere with my GP so I decided to go private.

I had an endoscopy and more blood tests which were clear. I then had a CT scan, which showed "something". This was quickly followed by a colonoscopy, which confirmed I had bowel cancer. I had surgery to remove the tumour early December with no further treatment needed.

In the meantime, I received a bowel cancer screening test in the post but the results came back inconclusive so I was asked to repeat it. I did this and after the third test was booked for a colonoscopy on the 6 December.

I now have six monthly CT scans and an annual colonoscopy.

Bowel cancer screening can save lives.

Bowel cancer screening saves lives but at the moment in some areas of the UK only a third of those who receive a test in the post complete it. Thousands of people are missing out on the best way to detect bowel cancer early when it is easier to treat and there is the greatest chance of survival.

How you can raise awareness of bowel cancer screening:

  • Over 60? (or in Scotland and over 50?), take the test when you receive it in the post.
  • If you are younger, tell the people over 60 (or over 50 in Scotland) in your life, to take the test

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