Alisha Bowell, Watford
I was diagnosed with stage 3 bowel cancer in 2011, aged 24.
Before I was diagnosed, I hadn't experienced any symptoms until I began feeling constipated. I went to the GP who gave me constipation relief and nothing more was said.
Two weeks later, I was rushed into A&E as an emergency due to pains I was having from constipation. At no point did I think this could be bowel cancer, due to my age and also this was the first time I had ever been constipated.
I had three operations which consisted of the removal of my tumour, the creation of my temporary colostomy, the colostomy reversal and operation on cysts in my ovaries. I also had six months of chemo. I was very lucky as I had very mild side effects to my treatment, such as having pins and needles and tiredness.
I am now nine years post op and lucky to be alive. I count my blessings every day and help where possible in giving back to others that have helped me or supporting others through hard times and to give hope.
But we're leading change
Never Too Young is leading change for younger bowel cancer patients. Every year 2,500 younger people are diagnosed with bowel cancer in the UK. Our research has shown that younger bowel cancer patients have a very different experience of diagnosis, treatment and care.
What are we calling for?
- Improved clinical guidance and practice on bowel cancer in younger people
- Improved identification of people with genetic conditions and access to surveillance screening
- Improved information for younger people on bowel cancer symptoms.