Beth Hewitt, Hereford
I was diagnosed with stage one bowel cancer in March 2019. Since May 2018, I noticed blood and mucus in my poo. I went back and forth to my GP for eight months, who kept saying it was hemorrhoids and prescribed me cream. Every time I said the words bowel cancer I would cry but the GP kept saying I was too young.
One GP reluctantly did a calprotectin test, which came back negative as were all my blood tests. I was starting to think like I had health anxiety, which put me off going back to my GP. After eight months of symptoms I was finally referred to see a gastroenterologist.
They told me I could wait up to six months for an appointment so we went private for a consultation and a colonoscopy – luckily my husband’s parents helped us out.
I had an anterior resection with a loop ileostomy, which is temporary.
Luckily surgery was all I needed, and now that the tumour has gone I don’t need any further treatment.
I have been extremely lucky to have amazing support from my wonderful husband, I couldn’t have got through this as well as I have without him as well as so much support from family and friends.
Mentally I feel blessed to have found the cancer early and to have had it removed without any further treatment. I’m sure as tests and scans approach as I wait for results I will worry, like anyone going through the same understands, but you can’t go through life worrying about the what ifs.
My life has changed physically, I am not at my previous level of fitness and I can’t do things with my children for a few more weeks as I recover from surgery but these are temporary, I am so grateful that I will soon be back to previous fitness and abilities.
Every time I said the words bowel cancer I would cry but the GP kept saying I was too young.
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