Stephen Browne, London
I was diagnosed with bowel cancer at the age of 45, after experiencing intermittent rectal bleeding and stomach pain for 12 months. I largely ignored the stomach cramps, due to an earlier diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) many years previously, but once I went to my GP, I was referred immediately.
Fortunately, my cancer was discovered early at stage 1, meaning that it had not spread and I didn’t need follow-up chemotherapy. I spent some time at home recovering from keyhole surgery to remove the cancer from my colon. I was supported very well by my family and I started a phased return to my work as a surveyor just a few months later.
This has been a wake-up call for me and I’ve become more health conscious – especially with regards to diet. Since my diagnosis I’ve not been embarrassed to talk about bowels and to make people more aware of the symptoms of bowel cancer.
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