Jon Green, 57 from Desborough
I was diagnosed with stage 1 bowel cancer at the age of 55 through bowel scope screening.
A few months after I turned 55 in March 2016, a letter arrived from my local hospital to invite me to bowel screening. I've never had any serious health issues but thought it's probably best to go, so sent back the form. A few months later in June 2016 I went to the appointment.
I watched the TV screen as the camera went up and got to the end - all looked good. Then the doctor started to withdraw the camera and I saw tucked away in the crease was a lump. It was clear from his comments that this looked like cancer and a biopsy was taken. From the future looking rosy, the rug had been pulled out from under me.
I had a full colonoscopy a few weeks after this sigmoidoscopy. Further tests confirmed cancer and I had to have one third of my bowel removed. My surgeon confirmed that the cancer had been caught so early that it hadn't spread beyond my bowel and gave a 95% success rate. They'll never give 100% and I'll take those odds any day. Also trading one third of my bowel for my future is a great trade in my mind.
I’d had no known symptoms before being diagnosed with bowel cancer and I’m a classic example of how screening can pick up cancer early. The bowel scope screening was only being offered in certain areas, so I told everyone I had won the postcode lottery. Since my diagnosis I’ve decided to semi-retire and enjoy life more.
We’re taking action to end the capacity crisis
We’re campaigning to improve early diagnosis by ensuring people have access to the right test at the right time. Around 16,000 people die from bowel cancer each year, making it the UK’s second biggest cancer killer. However, this shouldn’t be the case as the disease is treatable and curable, especially if diagnosed early. An estimated 9 in 10 people will survive bowel cancer if diagnosed at the earliest stage.
How you can get involved?
- Help us End the Capacity Crisis. Take action; sign our open letter to the Government calling for a fully funded action plan to tackle NHS staff shortages.
- Read our blog on ending the capacity crisis in NHS bowel cancer diagnostic services.
- Find out more on an optimal bowel cancer screening programme set out by the UK National Screening Committee.