Neil Hopkinson, 61 from Lutterworth
"I want to live to 100, I want to see my seven grandchildren grow up and so when the bowel cancer screening test came through a few days before my 60th birthday, there was little hesitation to take the test. I didn’t have any symptoms and so I was surprised that I had to do the test three times as they found a small sample of blood in my faeces.
"My wife and I were a little worried when I was told that I needed to go to Kettering General Hospital for further investigations but we tried our best to put a positive spin on it and saw the whole experience as an adventure. The nurse put me at ease straight away and explained the colonoscopy procedure which I had, followed by a CT scan. Unfortunately it did reveal two polyps, one was a quite large, and a very small tumour was found. I was diagnosed with stage 1 bowel cancer. It was a shock but my wife has been my rock throughout. I’m so pleased I did the screening test as if I had ignored the test it could’ve been so much worse.
"My surgery revealed that the cancer hadn’t spread and the tumour was contained. They removed it and thankfully I didn’t have to have chemotherapy. This is exactly why I took the test to pick up any signs of cancer early! I will just now be monitored closely. I can’t thank the nurses and surgeon at Kettering General Hospital enough – they were brilliant.
"My diagnosis convinced my friends to take the test who were previously ignoring it, and sadly my friend’s dad ignored his symptoms of bowel cancer and by the time he went to his GP, it was simply too late. Don’t let that happen to you, take the test when it comes through your letter box for free."
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.
Why is screening so important?
Bowel cancer is the UK’s second biggest cancer killer but it is treatable and curable especially if diagnosed early. Nearly everyone diagnosed at the earliest stage will survive bowel cancer however, this drops significantly as the disease develops. Taking part in bowel cancer screening is the best way to get diagnosed early and early diagnosis saves lives.
I’m so pleased I did the screening test as if I had ignored the test it could’ve been so much worse.