Lucila Camilo, Ipswich
I was diagnosed with stage 2 bowel cancer in September 2018 at the age of 40, whilst two months pregnant.
I noticed a change in my bowel habits which went on for a while and occasionally I had some blood when I passed stools, but that didn’t bother me. I thought those symptoms were just due to the constipation I had. Then last year, when I went to my GP complaining of stomach pain and was sent to see a Gastro, I was asked to do a flexi sigmoidoscopy. This was when they found a tumour in my sigmoid colon. After that I was sent very quickly to see a colorectal specialist.
My surgery had to be postponed for three months as I’d found out I was pregnant. It’s my first baby and I was over the moon about this. My doctor and I decided to go ahead with surgery when I was four months pregnant as this meant my baby would have more chance of survival after the surgery and treatment. I didn’t need any chemotherapy or radiotherapy as the tumour was totally removed during surgery. I was given a colostomy bag during surgery on 13 November 2018 and it’s temporary. A few months after I’ve had my baby I’m going to get it reversed.
I’ve only lived in the UK for five years and I've seen my life change a lot, especially because my treatment was done during my first pregnancy. My recovery wasn’t easy and I had a range of feelings because of that. I had an extremely bad allergic reaction in theatre when I was about to have my surgery done, so my procedure was postponed for a week and then was performed successfully. I also had a wound infection, skin allergies, extra tests and appointments with obstetricians, anaesthetists and midwives.
At the moment I am fine, just dealing with the symptoms of being pregnant. However I have the amazing support of many specialists from Ipswich Hospital (obstetricians, midwives, anaesthetists, surgeons, nurses, etc). They are brilliant! My baby arrived well and safe after I had a caesarean on 16 April. We are a very happy family now.
My surgery had to be postponed for three months as I’d found out I was pregnant.
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