Beating bowel cancer together

Everyone affected by bowel cancer has their own unique story to tell. Whether you’re a patient, family member, friend, colleague, healthcare professional or researcher, we want to bring the varied and many people affected by bowel cancer together to shine a light on your stories and experiences.

Share your experience

Share your experience, in your own words, together with a photo that represents you or your journey on our #thisisbowelcancer wall and show others that they’re not alone.

Add your experience

#thisisbowelcancer wall

Sarah Hibbert

As a Community Matron and a Practice Nurse, I am aware of the impact of bowel cancer on others.
I know how to provide support and care for people throughout their battle, even at the end.
I never thought I would be nursing my beloved Grandma with suspected bowel cancer, even to the end.
It was heartbreaking to learn there was nothing they could do. Her bowel had perforated due to a suspected caecum/ileum tumour, and Grandma was too frail for surgery and even further investigations.
She had a CT scan last year, but they said it was clear. What they did not realise, was there had been a tiny tumour lurking, and nobody had realised.
It is just over a month since Grandma died. We miss her so much, as she was an incredible person, so kind, so thoughtful, someone who lived for her family.
This is for you Grandma. Hope we've done you proud today. My cousin, Anna, my Dad, and myself have walked over 10km/5miles, to raise money for Bowel Cancer UK, so fewer families have to go through what we have been through with Grandma.

Karen Petrie

Hi..my name is Karen and I was diagnosed with Dukes B carcinoma of rectum in 2017 aged 57. I had recently retired from my job as a sister in Critical Care My symptoms were ...irregular bowel habit ( I previously was regular as clockwork .), difficulty passing stool, occasional blood streaking in stool. I know that you will be thinking that all of these symptoms are red flags ...Christmas 2016 was the turning point ...I was having low abdominal pain , I had little appetite and I felt generally unwell and I was having great difficulty defaecating. January 2017 my G P arranged for me to have a colonoscopy. I was told after colonoscopy that it was cancer and that I needed urgent treatment! ..my husband said "we've got this"! .I was terrified that my disease had metastasized and that I would die. My surgery was done on February 14th 2017 . I didn't need radiation or chemo. My ileostomy was reversed in October 2017 and in February 2022 I am now 5 years NED. Seek help quickly if you notice any change in bowels..don't put it off like I did ..I was so very lucky !

Anthony Simmonds

I also had bowel cancer,then it spread to my liver.
I was bleeding,but like most people,I never went to see my doctor.
Then my wife jean, made an appointment.they sent me to the Causeway hospital.
Did the camera test and said I had cancer.
I had 3 tumors on my liver.i started chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
I also started taking hemp oil 40%.(Probably not for everyone)
When they operated on me,they could only find 1.when my wife asked,was it the hemp oil, the surgeon just said whatever your giving him,its not doing any harm"
Good luck to everyone,and never give up.

Debbie Warner

My mum was diognosed with Neuroendocrine bowel cancer just 4 months before she passed away on 15/03/2015 from a tumour rupturing her small bowel, there was nothing I could do to save her, looking back she had symptoms for years but always miss diognosed, I miss my mum Mary Lewthwaite so much, I now have to have annual colonoscopys as I have found out there is lynch syndrome in our family.

kenneth fisher

I was diagnose with bowel cancer in 2019 and had endless CT, MRI scans and Colonoscopy's, Its been hard, but I am a bowel cancer SURVIVOR Thanks to all the Doctors and nurses that looked after me, All I did and still do is pray cancer NEVER returns as I am still under the hospital having more examinations and checks,
The word is ( NEVER GIVE UP )

Peter Blay

My mother was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 1970. She had an operation and chemo. She was in remission until 1980. At that time she and my sister were diagnosed with bowel cancer. Their consultants realised they had Gardners Syndrome, hereditary FAP. Because I had undiagnosed problem with bowel for 20 years, i had a colonoscopy. It showed it had masses of polyps in bowel.,I had my colon removed to stop getting cancer. My sister died leaving a daughter of 11 months. Two years later my mother died. In 1995 my consultant said I had to have my bowel removed and given an eleo pouch. My blood was analysed and it took abou 2 years for them to find the fault in my DNA. They were able to do a blood test on my niece and she does not hatvGardners Syndrome. In 2015 my eleo pouch packed up so I have an eliostomy.

Kirsty Creighton

After being diagnosed in December 2020 with stage 3 bowel cancer with vascular invasion and 17/51 lymph nodes and undergoing a bowel resection followed by 12 rounds of chemo i managed to have no evidence of disease. 6 months later in a CT and Pet scan showed the cancer had spread to my pelvis and is now stage 4 i’ve had surgery to remove the cancer and currently having chemoradiotherapy to rid this awful disease! I was 41 when diagnosed you’re never too young know you’re normal check your poo πŸ’© and never be embarrassed to go to the GP and push for answers it’s literally or death!

Jennifer Brown

It’s been lovely to read everyone’s experiences so I thought I’d add mine. In November 2017 I went for my annual health check and was told that I was very anaemia. My doctor wanted to know why this had suddenly happened so sent me for all the usual tests and scans. It turned out that I had three tumours, two were stage 2 and one stage 3. Early in 2018 I had surgery and had 75% of my bowel removed. Thanks to the skill of my surgeon I didn’t need a stoma and I’m now four years into remission. I still look back and can’t believe that it happened. I don’t even have the scars to prove it as it was all keyhole surgery. The biggest shock was being told that I needed a pacemaker as my heart rate was only 40 and I was diagnosed with a variable heart block. I’m now truly bionic and it’s hard to describe just how thankful I am to those who donate so generously and our fabulous NHS.
From Jenn in Newcastle

Babs Jamieson

Jordan (my best friend) was a primary school teacher who loved life. In 2013, Jordan began experiencing issues - she was always at the doctor with painful bloating and other odd symptoms. She knew something wasn't right.

She was diagnosed with IBS, however in 2018 symptoms worsened. Jordan's GP waived this off as stress, dismissing her pain because of her age.

This went on until Jordan's back pain was so bad she had to go to A&E. A registrar there said it was "almost 100 % certain not cancer". Jordan pushed for a colonoscopy, where she was diagnosed with incurable, stage 4 bowel cancer which had spread to her liver, ovaries and lungs, after a 5-year delay.

Jordan had surgery to remove the tumour, her ovaries, her appendix and part of her abdominal wall, received 20 rounds of chemotherapy and ran 10K before each, to prove that cancer wouldn’t beat her.
Jordan spent time trying to set up a fitness centre to allow cancer patients to keep fit and healthy, in a safe environment.

In 2020, Jordan sadly passed away. I’m now delighted to be partnered with Bowel Cancer UK, with lots of exciting initiatives coming up to spread awareness.

Lauren Toner

My nanny unfortunately passed away at the age of 73, after suffering with the disease for a short period of time.

Nothing could be done to eradicate the bowel cancer, which was undetected for some time. Tests showed that the cancer was too far advanced - chemo wasn’t going to help. If only the doctors had listened when there were signs that something was wrong for months.

I’m now incredibly thankful to be working alongside Bowel Cancer UK to spread awareness for early detection of bowel cancer, as an employee of their corporate partner Jamieson Law, honouring my nanny and the countless other people impacted by bowel cancer.

It's time to spread the message far and wide that change is NOW!

Barbara Brew

I did the poo test when it arrived and was surprised when it came back with an abnormal result. One month on and after an assortment of 'oscopies, CT and MRI scans and other tests, I am now signed up on the Star-Trec research project and will be starting a 5 day course of radiotherapy very soon.
Without the screening programme, I would have been blissfully unaware of the tumour lurking inside me. I am now on a mission to encourage everyone I know to take up the screening and not just ignore it.
I agreed to be part of the trial not only because I liked the idea of being a Trekkie but also because it is only by being part of trials that knowledge and treatment can move forward.

Dave P

I was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer early in 2019. I only had fairly mild bowel discomfort. I had visited my Gp once but it then seemed to clear a little before returning. My wife suggested I see my GP
again. Within a week I had a colonoscopy and two weeks later surgery. The tumour, although stage four, was localised and histology showed all was clear around the tumour.
I had my 3 year follow up colonoscopy last November and all is still clear. I have a colostomy but this does not limit my active lifestyle.
PLEASE get checked up if you have any worrying bowel problems

Tracy McDonough

After 11 years of painful rectal polyp excisions I was told it was malignant in May 2021 and I would need a stoma/ chemo radiation and more radical surgery- pelvic exenteration.
The shock and realisation was hard to deal with initially but with the love & support from family and friends here I am a year later coping just fine. The stoma is no trouble and has improved my life and my latest scans showed the tumour had gone with the chemo so major surgery deferred and may not be needed!πŸ₯³
Trying to stay positive throughout has helped immensely. I’m so thankful for the NHS and all my supporters who know who they are πŸ₯°

Lynn Haveron

7 years ago today I had my major surgery for my bowel cancer , few body bits removed and a stoma for life .
Can't say it's all been plain sailing but here I am 7 years later Cancer free and living and loving my life. I've 2 amazing grandkids something thought I'd never see . I thank God and my Angels everyday for sparing me my life my time on earth isn't done πŸ™πŸ’• 😁

Dawn Woodbury

After a few months back & forth on the phone with the docs, I had a colonoscopy which showed a tumour in my large intestines. I had the conformation that I had aggressive Stage 3 bowel cancer. 7 days later I was in hospital having surgery to remove it. Then chemotherapy. I’m 46 with 3 children aged 11, 14 & 17.

*I had NO obvious bleeding.
*NO obvious change in bowel habits.
*NO weight loss - in fact I was gaining weight.
*I WAS tired slightly more than usual.
*I DID HAVE bloating and discomfort after eating and started changing what I ate - I suspected celiac or IBS.
*No obvious lump.
*I DID HAVE a prolonged bad back, worse than usual which was my main reason for seeking answers.

I said to the nurse before my colonoscopy that I felt like a fraud as I felt fine again!!

If you have any of these symptoms or, like me, just know that something isn’t right, please see your doctor and get to the ‘bottom’ of everything ('bottom' - do you see what I did there πŸ˜„)

Know your body. Push for answers. Don’t leave it, sort it.

Linda Pugsley

I went to see my GP at the end March 2017 with what I thought was piles. I was diagnosed with cancer and following various tests I had surgery at the beginning of May to remove a large part of my lower bowel. The tumour was very low, and had started to break through the bowel wall but luckily hadn't spread further so no chemotherapy needed. I had a stoma which took some getting used to, and was reversed 18 months later. Next month it will be 5 years since my world went into a tailspin but I'm doing well. Only downside is if I need the loo, please don't get in my way! Please get checked, don't put it off!

Alison Slevin

My dad was diagnosed with bowel cancer extremely late and in the middle of the first lockdown 2020 he sadly passed away in November 2020. Five weeks later I was diagnosed and thankfully I was able to be seen urgently and within 18 days operation to remove the T4 Tumour, six weeks later 8 cycles of Oxaliplatin and Capecitabine and was given the news that I have no evidence of disease which is amazing but I wish my dad and others would get the same news. Early detection saved my life but sadly this was and is not the case for my dad and others. Even after numerous visits to GPS and A &E Departments I was told go home and watch given laxatives. Please listen to your body push for proper and urgent medical care πŸ’šthis photo was taken Christmas 2019 before my life changed forever

Diane Balderson

I felt generally unwell in January 2016, just tired no obvious symmptoms , no change in bowel habits , no bleeding ,no weight loss. had pain in my stomach diagnosed with gastritis. Had a endoscopy which was normal. in september i had a low hb and iron count was given transfusions, developed extreme pain and admitted to hospital on 13th sept 2016 had a right hemicolectomy for ca bowel and 30 rounds of chemo.
Today I have finally been discharged.
It has been a struggle physically and mentally, but I have survived and grown thanks to the love and support of surgeons, chemo doctors family and friends.
my diagnosis could have been sooner if I had been referred for a colonoscopy when endoscopy was negative so if this happens to you. QUESTION the doctors.

Mandy Guthrie

I had no symptoms at all when I sent off my screening test. Posted on the Sunday I got a call on the Tuesday to say there was blood in my sample. By the following week I was booked in for a colonoscopy. As soon as she started I just knew it was cancer I saw the tumour. After a week I had it confirmed, it was then a month before I saw a surgeon. Worst month of my life. As it was Christmas my surgery was scheduled for the 6th of January. I had to have a temporary stoma but I recovered quickly from the surgery, however out of 23 lymph nodes removed 1 showed cancer. Chemo was recommended but I only managed 2 sessions. The side effects were really bad. I'm currently just out of hospital after contracting 2 bacterial infections. My journey is far from over but I'm lucky to be here.

Jade Tambini

My lovely Nana is very well and the absolute life and soul of anywhere she goes - she has a more active social calendar than mine, sings in a singing group and takes regular holidays with friends. She had such severe bowel cancer which often I think we are so lucky she is with us, but she has been all clear for almost 2 decades now and is late 70's. I'm so grateful for the incredible treatments she received that means she is with us today!

Shelley Symes

After a few visits to the Dr's, who originally thought I had piles, I was finally sent for a colonoscopy which confirmed I had bowel cancer. This was in Sept 2012 and I was only 23 years old so was a massive shock. I had 5 weeks of radiotherapy and chemotherapy followed by a 9 hour surgery which resulted in me having a stoma bag. Thankfully the cancer had completely shrunk and the small bit that was left was successfully removed but I still had another 6 months of chemo to follow. I'm not going to lie, the treatment and whole journey was difficult with infections and also sepsis. After my first few chemo sessions, in May 2013 I married my husband. I finished my chemo in October 2013 and in February 2014 I had my stoma reversed. I went into ovarian failure and early menopause at the age of 25 so we started our IVF journey in 2015. In 2019 we welcomed our first daughter and then in 2021 we welcomed our second daughter. Thankfully there was light at the end of my tunnel although it still isn't easy sailing for me but I'm grateful my treatment worked #thisisbowelcancer

June Yates

In June 2011 I was diagnosed with bowel cancer. Had suffered stomach pains for a long time but put them down to IBS or similar. No blood in poo no real constipation/runs. Husband made me visit GP after spending Easter curled up in pain. Was retired Primary School Teacher doing Supply Work and had put symptoms down to young children not washing hands etc. Silly mistake! Bowel Cancer Section of bowel removed but no bag needed, chemo and regular Colonoscopies followed. Here I am 11 years later, I have been very lucky, Bowel Cancer never crossed my mind. Please don't ignore any pain or change in bowel habit.

Hazel Elvin

It all started in December 2020 when I went to hospital complaining of acute stomach pains. I was checked out and sent home with pain killers and IBS tablets and told to return in a couple of days if it doesn't improve. Unfortunately, the pain got worse so I returned to the hospital where after a CT scan I was diagnosed with a perferated bowel. I went in for a emergency operation which was successful but it left me with a stoma. I'm hoping for a reversal in the future if possible. After 2 weeks in hospital, I was told they had found a small cancerous lump in the part of the bowl they removed. Luckily, it had been removed but I had a few rounds of chemo, just to be sure. I feel lucky that it was caught when it did, as I never knew I had it. I'm now regularly checked by the wonderful NHS, who I owe my life to. I'm so grateful for all their help and care.

Pat Willies croft

Had bowel cancer tumour removed February last year. Unfortunately the tumour broke through the vowel wall. Now have stoma bag. Unfortunately unable to be reversed. Currently having three monthly blood checks and yearly C.T. and colonoscopies. Medics and nursing staff and support workers all been brilliant both whilst I was in hospital and when I was having chemotherapy. Have to also mention cleaners whilst in hospital as they kept me going in the absence of visitors. Now feeling quite well but always aware things could change. It’s a scary place to be and as I am not accustomed to making a fuss I do sometimes feel a little bit on my own. But I am aware I am lucky and there are many people much worse off.

Jayne Barber

I was diagnosed in 2014 just after my 50th birthday. Seems like a long time ago now. My symptoms were pretty much the same as most people have mentioned but I put it down to menopause.
I had a stoma for 8 months and then reversal surgery in 2015. I was lucky enough not to have had chemo and was given the all clear in 2019. I consider myself very lucky and thank god every day!
The photo was taken at Christmas 2014

Gillian Cook

Shortly after turning 60 I was sent the Bowel screening kit, I'd noticed a bit of blood in my poo but thought nothing of it as I wasn't feeling ill at all. The results showed some inconsistencies so I was referred for a colonoscopy which in turn showed that I had one very large polyp, which apparently had been growing for a few years and a couple of small ones. Biopsies confirmed that I had bowel cancer; what a shock that was and my first thoughts were that I wouldn't be around to see my granddaughter being born or my grandson growing up.
I had the polyps removed and a course of radiotherapy but the bowel wall was already damaged and after my op have ended up with a permanent stoma. You think you'll never get used to it but you do, I'm now getting on with life. I am so thankful that bowel screening is available and would advise anyone who's offered it to take it. I'm grateful for the surgeon and nurses at the hospital and I realise how lucky I am that covid did not stand in the way of my treatment.

Angela Baker

My sister Elizabeth was Lead Renal Nurse at Morriston Hospital in Swansea and sadly died of Bowel Cancer in 2017 at the age of 57. She went from being a very active and fit person too dying within a couple of months of diagnosis. The reason why I wanted to post here was to emphasis that if you have symptoms please do not ignore them . Despite being a nurse, and displaying symptoms of Bowel Cancer I believe a number of years before diagnosis, my sister went into denial and did not act on them. If she had, I am certain she would still be with us today. Something can be done so please do not be afraid and seek help, it could save your life. Sadly it is too late for my sister but her memory lives on as the Renal Unit at Morriston Hospital is now named after her.

Margaret Shaw

Hi all was diagnosed beginning of Lockdown
With bowel cancer and liver cancer two surgery’s later chemo for Christmas lovely
Had a small celebration march 2021. With an all
Clear. But had some tummy problem since first
Surgery’s unfortunately in May ended up in hospital blocked bowel due to surgery
6weeks later two stoma’s and a dose of sepsis
Felt like a kick in t the teeth. But with the help and support from my wonderful family and friends I am now in training for great north swim
Have raise £1291 for my chosen charity

Ceri Williams

I started to lose my appetite in June 2020 aged 50, feeling full and bloated, difficulty going to the loo, very thin stools for a long time before that, then came lots of blood. Gp referred me for a sigmoidoscopy 2 weeks later as my dad had had bowel cancer where they found a very large tumour almost blocking my rectum. November 2020 stoma op, radiotherapy Dec, chemo jan/March, op April 21. Fast forward Feb this year scans revealed its back in my pelvis, I'm now waiting for an op in the next few weeks. Hopefully a cure as no spread elsewhere.

Kevin Sweeney

I had a colonoscopy July 2021 and was diagnosed with Bowel Cancer - I had an operation October 2021 and are still on a course of Chemotherapy. Luckily I did not need a Stoma but I had an Uncle died in 1985 aged 49 with Bowel Cancer and 3 Aunts all died with various forms of Cancer (all om my Mothers side) For me the main problem is the difficulty they have putting the cannula in my hand every time I go to the Hospital - I am getting fed up of it now.

Val Brown

I was diagnosed with bowel cancer October 2020 had major surgery the following December and had a stoma after the surgery, I never in a million year's thought I'd ever get my head around a stoma but I did because I had no choice, I had a stoma for 12 Months which it was reversed...
I didn't have to have any other treatment because I went to the doctors as soon as I saw the tiniest blood..
Thank god that I did xx
Always listen to your instincts there normally right

judy moore

My Mom was finally diagnosed March 2021 with inoperable bowel cancer. Many opinions were given on her bloated stomach but unfortunately due to lockdown it was hard to see right people. In December she was admitted to hospital where a stent was fitted in her bowel. unfortunately in March she passed away but cause of death was stated as ruptured bowel. The Cancer was a secondary factor. I can't help feeling that if symptoms had been looked at sooner she may have had more time even though cancer was in early stages things could have maybe been spotted sooner.

Gillian Wood

After completing my second regular bowel screening test I received a letter advising traces of blood were present and recommending further investigation to rule out piles or fissures. I had piles at the time but otherwise felt fit and healthy so I didn’t follow up. The piles cleared up. Several months later I noticed more blood and a change in bowel habits. My GP immediately referred me for a colonoscopy and I was diagnosed with rectal cancer. Treatment included chemo radiotherapy then Low Anterior Resection surgery with temporary ileostomy. Unfortunately a few days after surgery I developed sepsis, which impacted recovery. Thankfully radiation had killed the tumour and pathology showed no cancer cells in lymph nodes, so I didn’t have follow up chemo. After 10 months the stoma was reversed and after 4 years I’ve now been discharged from follow up checks and managing LARS symptoms mainly through diet. I now support others with a bowel cancer diagnosis on an online peer support group and in fundraising ventures (like Walk Together events).

Alison Jones

As an advanced nurse practitioner I was working under a lot of stress . I thought my change in bowel movements was caused by this. Due to cancellations I saw a surgeon 3 days before my colonoscopy, he thought it was stress related and said it was “up to me” if I wanted the colonoscopy. Thankfully I did and a tumour was found January 2020. I had surgery, followed by a wound problem, which I self managed as they did not want me attending during the pandemic. Sometimes I just wanted to be the patient not a nurse with knowledge, especially with the aftercare and knowing the NICE guidelines, seemed to be fair changed to suit the pandemic and the different trusts. Reading other’s stories sometimes makes me feel a fraud as I only had surgery but other times I feel the fear of not having follow up treatment

Adama Jallow

I got a friend that have cancer but every day I pray for her to over come it

Andrea Morton

Unlike a lot of others my journey touch wood was quite short. I was diagnosed in July 2021 at the age of 31 with stage 4 bowel cancer. I only found out after having emergency surgery to remove a tumour that was blocking my bowel. A few months prior to this I had been back and forth from the hospital with severe abdominal pain and got diagnosed with IBS and then the diagnosis turned to a ruptured appendix. 6 weeks after surgery I got the results from the biopsy they had sent off from the tumour and that's when it changed from Appendicitis to Cancer. I had 2/19 lymph nodes removed as well as part of my bowel and appendix. I had a few rounds of chemo and now I'm in my first year of remission.

Kate Christy

i am 3 yrs down the line from my 5 yr clear results ,and while i am lucky to still be here ,when so many are not ,unfortunately for me my experience was very traumatic ,so i dont ever share what i went through ,as i dont want to scare or frighten people who have just been diagnosed .
i have found some comfort in reading other peoples experiences ,but sadly never found anyone who has had similar ,
i was diagnosed on 15th March ,my surgery didnt happen until the end of september ,and then i was in hospital for 7 wks after ,fighting for my life ,and experiencing a catalogue of disasters .
and still living with the consequences of those disasters .
i wish everyone the best of luck and hope their journeys are succsessful.

Allan Twiname

My diagnosis crept up on me, and when I was told about it, the surgeon was quite matter-of-fact about it. I think this helped as it wasn't like it was a huge deal. Not the best, but it put me at ease.
All through my 'journey', everyone involved were fantastic and kept me from overthinking things. Even when covid hit, and I had to change hospitals for my chemo I knew I had a great team behind me, so didn't panic.
When bad days happened, I always had an ear to talk to - my wife or one of my nurses. It seems weird to suggest that bowel cancer was positive, but I found a way to smile through it somehow.
2 years on, and I'm clear, for now. Yes, there are still the occasional bad days, but I try to always to look forward and if I do look back, it's to the moments of laughter on the wards.

Michael Crane

It’s not always a heartbreaking experience. My own journey was a stroll compared to the marathons others went through. I feel a fraud, but I was one of the lucky ones. No symptoms, diagnosed in time for surgery, full recovery. My advice is share: with family, friends, strangers. Stay positive and trust your Colorectal Team to see you through.

Read all about my journey here https://www.bowelcanceruk.org.uk/how-we-can-help/real-life-stories/

NB: contains humour πŸ™„

Allan Rankin

My experience can be summed up in three words DO THE TEST

Philip Davis

I was diagnosed with bowel cancer, June 2020. I had 3 months radiography and was told that the cancer had spread to my liver and lungs. Then I had 3 months chemotherapy on Capox, which nearly killed me and hospitalised me for 2 weeks. Now I've been on Folfiri chemotherapy since August 2021. I've had to have a break from treatment because my Magnesium levels were too low. I have an appointment with my Oncologist 9/5/22 when I hope they are going to restart my treatment

Michelle Knight

I am Michelle. 55. I was diagnosed with stage 3 bowel cancer in December 2021. My symptoms were a change in bowel movements, bloated tummy and some mild pain/discomfort. I have had my surgery to remove the tumour in January this year. Clear margins either side but it was in some lymph nodes. I am now half way through chemotherapy.
Please listen to your body, if something Is not right, consult your GP. I thought I had caught mine early, so to be told it was stage 3 was a bit of a shock. But so far so good, we need to get passed the embarrassment of talking about our bowels, it’s not the nicest of subjects, but a conversation about your concerns could save your life.

Kelly Beck

I was taken to A&E with what we thought was a colitis flare. I had stomach pain and diarrhoea but none of the other bowel cancer symptoms. I was taken for emergency surgery to perform a total right hemicolectomy and end ileostomy. I didn’t suspect cancer, even when my husband was called in when the surgeon came to discuss the surgery. They told us they had found a mass and all I could think about was my 3-year-old daughter. 3 weeks later I was told the mass was stage 4 bowel cancer, incurable and had spread to my ovary and peritoneum. I was 36. We later found out it is a rare form of cancer called Goblet Cell Adenocarcinoma.

I've had 13 cycles of Folfiri with Cetuximab which initially showed a positive response. I then started a clinical trial but developed a bowel obstruction so after 6 weeks in the hospital I have completed 4 cycles of Folfox chemotherapy.

The best thing I have learnt is to advocate for yourself. If something isn't right get it checked and if you are in treatment speak up. I changed hospitals after 2 cycles of chemo and it was the best move.

Robin Hough

In 2015 my mum died from bowel cancer. She was 84 and knew what she was doing when she declined surgery or chemo.
Fast forward 5 years and I will never forget the moment during my own colonoscopy when the room went quiet and I became a cancer patient.
We had caught it early enough. Within 6 weeks I had surgery to remove a section of colon. Another 6 months and I had completed 4 rounds of "precautionary" chemo.
Surgery had complications and chemo was all kinds of nasty, but I'm still here, and plan to remain so for many years.

Rebecca Stafford

My sister was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel and liver cancer in feb 2020. She visited the GP beacause she was having trouble with constipation and had bleeding from her rectum. She was refered to the hospital for a colognoscopy and endoscopy thats where they found the cancer. The Doctors told her she was walking around for 3yrs before she was diagnosed without any symptoms. She was a fighter for 2yrs until febuary 18th 2022 where she passed away. Please if you have blood when you go to the toilet get it checked. Best to be on the safe side. Bowel cancer doesnt have many symptoms until its too late. My sister was only 35yrs old leaving two young boys and a loving husband

Karen Weston

Dad had been told he had ibs after having bowel problems. He returned to Gp a few times and was given antispasmodics. Symptoms got worse and he was referred for colonoscopy beginning of November 21. He was diagnosed with stage 3 tumour. He had a temporary stoma fitted beginning of December but had pneumonia whilst in hospital. January 22 he had intense radiotherapy for 5 days. He passed away 9/2/22. Exactly 3 months after diagnosis. Please if you have any symptoms get checked out xxx

Jo Stacey

I never new the symptoms of bowel cancer and never imagined what is was goin through was all down to bowel cancer ,people need to be aware of the changes in there body and go to the doctor ASAP,
I had so many symptoms but put down to other things,
Very low hemoglobin level , resulting in blood transfusion and iron infusions
Loss of weight,
Pains in my stomach after eating
Upset stomach,
All symptoms which are easily put down to other things,
I was only diagnosed on the 4th February 2022
I have undergone surgery to remove part of my colon where the cancerous tumor was,
I have to have chemo for 6months which is starting in the next few wks ,
I have been very lucky to have been diagnosed so quickly,
You really do need to be aware of the symptoms,
Having such a good supportive family and a very positive mind really does help

Kathy Jolley

I was climbing a mountain in Hong Kong the week before they found the 6cm tumour which was growing through my upper transverse colon. For two years I was turned away from doctors and private clinics with symptoms of blood in my poo, cramps and tiredness. Even though my Mum had bowel cancer, all doctors said I was too young to have it at 33/34 years old. It's just allergies or piles they kept saying. I had to have emergency surgery when my bowel blocked two weeks after I finally got a colonoscopy. I was lucky it hadn't spread and no chemo needed but keep persisting if you don't feel well. Lynch syndrome means more young people can get it but it's not widely known. Be aware.

Margaret Jeal

I had tiredness and a negative bowel cancer test , then constipation that I could not clear.GP surgery said no problem, but very unwell and went to A/E where everyone listened and agreed my self diagnosis was correct. 10 hours later emergency surgery , removal of sigmoid colon and have a permanent colostomy, 4 sessions of chemotherapy, which made me ill but a year later scan shows no abnormalities and blood levels normal.

Jean Brett

My name is Jean I was 59 when I started losing blood every time I went to the toilet and my stomach was bloated I did go to the doctors and he passed it off as piles I kept going back to the doctors until he got so fed up he referred me to the hospital th see the cancer specialist that asked me questions and I was sent for a colonoscopy they left it till after Christmas to tell me I had bowel cancer I had the big operation and a reversal so ten years later I am cancer free so if you have any the symptoms go and get it checked out as soon as possible it could save you’re life

Kelly Fenlon

Never did I think my polyp would be cancer..never ever did I think it’d been there long enough to spread to my lymph nodes! But at 37 years old I was dealing with bowel cancer…get checked, take your symptoms seriously and you could be lucky like me and living a normal life again #thisisbowelcancer

Teasha Evans

My husband was diagnosed April 2021 8 weeks later he was gone .

Patricia Eardley

My husband started passing blood in his faeces in 2005, went to his GP 4 days later. Was referred to local hospital who said it couldn't be cancer as he had a healthy diet and was a runner, doing marathons and half marathons. Ten months and many visits back to GP and hospital, was sent for a scan; this showed a large tumour in his bowel which had also damaged his bladder. The hospital delayed doing anything until we rang The Christie in Manchester (they said they would but 'forgot'.) He was seen a week later, operated on 2 weeks later but not expected to survive. He had an ileostomy - later reversed - and a urostomy. After several setbacks, his consultant advised a no fibre, low residue diet. He has stuck to this and is now much healthier than anybody expected him to be. He still runs sometimes and does the Great North Run each year to raise money for the hospital that 'mended' him. He's running this year's, 6 weeks prior to his 70th birthday. The moral of his story is, go to your GP as soon as you have symptoms, don't accept delays and stay positive.

Julie Bristow

I was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer in March 2021 after suffering with what was originally thought to be an ulcer

With fantastic doctors and chemotherapy and immunotherapy I have had 18 rounds so far and the primary cancer in the bowel has gone
Lumps and bumps in liver and lungs stable

And I still have so much to live for and am extremely grateful

So even if you have no symptoms get checked

Perm Hunter

It started with blood in my pop, sent away by the GP a few times. Still losing blood, a newly qualified GP sent me for a colonoscopy. Initially diagnosed as stage 3, on removal was 1. I was lucky, a resection and slowly got used to my new normal. Year 4 this year. That's why I am doing step up for 30. Not everyone who was ill at the same time as myself survived. This is for them.

Chris Housman

Blood in my poo May 2021. Colonoscopy found rectal tumour stage 3.
Chemoradio therapy for 5 weeks. Rest period then keyhole surgery in November to remove it and various lymph glands. Surgeon managed to avoid a stoma (hooray!)
Now another 3 months of chemo to reduce chance of a recurrence.
Praying for an all-clear in May.
NHS services have been faultless and timely throughout my journey,only hope it's all done the trick.
Message to anyone going though this - stay positive and look ahead!

Gill Witton

My son was 30 he had been going to the doctor for years told it was irritable bowel, gal bladder, hemmeroids etc he was even told he was too young for it to be anything serious, a young doctor joined the practice and when he saw him arranged a colonoscopy he had stage 3 bowel cancer. A large part of his bowel was removed along with the tumor he had 3 affected lymph nodes so had a round of chemo. After a year a scan showed an abnormality in his abdominal wall but the oncologist said it was scar tissue. How I wished we had asked for a second opinion as 6 months later a scan showed it was cancer. After 2 x12 weeks of different chemos he was told it was terminal. My beautiful boy passed away 4 months later leaving 2 young sons he was only 32

Tony Tyler

The picture is me having completed a 50 mile run in the Lake District. 4 months on I was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer. 2 tumours, operation end of Jan 22 to remove. Now on my second round of 8 x 3 week chemo sessions. It’s tough but I’m determined to be back at the Lakeland 50 next year. Very lucky to have had a great team looking after me. Chemo being delivered at home by Sciensus who are fantastic. 2 chairs that will kill you an armchair and an electric chair, keep moving if you can πŸ˜€

manda burnett

Please get checked, my mum was told she had sciatica. After few months after being sent for a blood test it resulted in an emergency 11 hour operation. ICU for a week then high dependency ward. No visitors as Covid
Mum had Ileostomy which was no problem as mum was with us.
Sadly almost a year later was told has months / years that weekend mum went into hospital and sadly gained her wings.
Taken way too early
I urge everyone to get checked and tested

Irene Colbourn

It was 2021 I was diagnosed with bowel cancer I was 53yrs old , I had a operation in July and 16 lymphomnodes removed with one just cancer , I was told 3 lots of chemotherapy but ended up having 2 because my body had bad reaction, , it is now 2022 i am getting stronger every day and take each day as it comes, I am due my 1yr check up in July and hopefully all will be ok so fingers crossed, I still get tired if I do to much but so much want to work again bring a care assistant.

Gemma Marchant

I was diagnosed in October 2020 I was 36 , had operation november 2nd right hemi I didn't need a stoma, I was stage 3 with 3 lymph nodes involved so 6mths chemo iv them 2 weeks tablets, it was like rollcoaster , the only symptoms I had was a really bad pain in my lower tummy on the right which the doctors thougt it was my appendix and I had 2 lots of antibiotics, it feels like it will never end, but I'm back at work & have regular scans and blood test I'm doing the asprin trial aswell.

Margo Young

Diagnosed in December 2019 with stage 4 Bowel Cancer (small spot in liver) Major operation on 13th February to remove diseased part of colon and gall bladder and spot on liver. 6 months chemotherapy during first lockdown. 2 Years on and okay at moment.
So blessed with amazing consultants, doctors, surgeons and all nursing staff.
Big thank you to my special family (couldn't do it without you).

Denise Cully

My hubby was diagnosed with bowel cancer 3 yrs ago. Got tumor removed. Done 6 months of chemo and chemo tablets. Got scanned 3 months after op to be told he has left sided perontinital disease

Michele Cheetham

I was diagnosed in May 2015 with rectal cancer at the age of 52. I had symptoms for around 6 months but knew nothing about bowel cancer. I had been to my doctor a few times but was told nothing was wrong. I was lucky enough to see a locum and he referred me for tests. It was caught early Stage 1 with no spread. I had surgery, a low anterior resection, and no chemo. I am now 7 years clear. I have ongoing problems with constipation, but I can live with that. I spent a lot of time volunteering afterward for Albion In The Community with their Speak up for Cancer campaign. It's really important to me that people, especially younger people, are aware of the signs and symptoms.

Lori Callahan

Hi everyone let me start by saying how happy I am I found this site. Back in August 2020 at the age of 59 I was diagnosed with what we thought was stage 2 or 3 bowel cancer turns out I had small spot on lung so technically a stage 4 but still treatable. My biggest symptom was constipaton and blood in stool once. I had a wonderful team put together and we started with 6 rounds of chemo followed by 16 weeks of radiation unfortunately January of 2021 I developed a bowel blockage which almost took my life but had surgery to put in colostomy. Finished radiation and had bowel surgery March of 2021 which they reversed colostomy and gave me Ileostomy. May of 2021 had lung surgery to remove that tumor. July of 2021 had ileostomy reversed (so lucky was able to have both reversed). I did develop a incisional hernia in September had surgery to remove that and surgery in March to remove another lung tumor. Other than that I feel well have gained back weight and as of now am NED. Without my family or doctors I wouldn’t be here.

Paula Greene

I was diagnosed with bowel cancer on September 2017. The year I lost my Mum. I had an operation to remove it. And this year I am 5 years clear.

I never forget how lucky I am to be here ...but I do feel very sad for the people that never made it.

Michelle Beecham

I was diagnosed May 2021 with stage 3 Bowel cancer after losing a lot of weight and feeling tired always and pain under my left rib
In September 2021 I was booked in for surgery-bowel removed, full hysteracomy and a stoma bag fitted, only the stoma bag was done because the cancer had spread - lymph nodes and cysts in pelvis are.
November 2021 admitted too hospital with Sepsis and diagnosed with diverticulitis.
Chemotherapy and radiotherapy was meant to start in November, that was cancelled till i got better.
December 2021 chemotherapy and radiotherapy began.
January 2022 growth on liver needed investigating, not cancerous..
So now I'm still waiting for surgery..

Michael Washington

This is my Dad, Mick, doing what he loved the most, which was having fun with his grandson. Being the best husband, Dad and grandad to his family was everything to Dad.
Dad was diagnosed in 2016 with stage 2 colorectal cancer. We were all shocked, especially Dad, but his positivity and the healthcare team caring for him got him through. We prayed that would be the last of it for Dad. Sadly, the cancer returned in 2019 this time it had spread to throughout his liver and was back in the joined bowel section of the colon. Dad bravely endured a raft of chemotherapy treatment lines, until in mid 2021 when these stopped working. He passed away on Dec 17th with mum, his wife of 50 years, and me and my brother with him. We thought and he thought, he was invincible. Always laughing, joking, loving and strong. Please lets all do all we can to support each other, to raise awareness and to help loved ones live as long as possible with this cruel disease. Also to support this fabulous charity who helped me to care for my Dad and educated me about so much.

Johanna Green

I was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer in 2018, one month after I turned 35; I'd first gone to my GP with abdominal pain/fatigue in 2011 (aged 28) but was told it was stress and that I was "too young for it to be anything serious". Emergency surgery a week after diagnosis took my sigmoid colon, the end of my small intestine, my left ovary, part of my left ureter (successfully re-implanted into my bladder), and 26 lymph nodes; I now have a colostomy. 6 months/12 rounds of adjuvant Folfox chemo followed; this gave me permanent peripheral neuropathy in my legs/feet, but also give me a full year of NED before my cancer returned in my liver/gallbladder in 2020. An unsuccessful liver resection in Jan 2021 led to 4 months/8 rounds of Folfiri chemo, and a partially successful liver resection/gallbladder removal in Sept 2021. Due to the pandemic, I went through surgery/chemo alone. I'm now waiting for surgery on a cancerous lymph node attached to my portal vein. Had my GP been more aware of the risks of bowel cancer in patients under 40, I might have had a very different story. You're never too young for bowel cancer.

Susan Carson

I am sharing my husband’s experience
February 21 he had a routine blood test for his type 2 diabetes. Got a call from the Gp to say you will be getting a call from the hospital for a colonoscopy and endoscopy
He never thought it was Bowel cancer because he takes metformin and they had upset his stomach from the beginning even the slow release .He had bleeding thought it was piles and had done the Bowel test that came back clear .
Within 2 weeks he was told stage 4 with mets to his liver and lymph nodes .
Because his poo test was clear he never went to Gp . Since then 2 of our children
Have had to have polops removed because of bleeding thinking it was piles

Alan Vickers

After having Covid in late Dec 2020, I had changed bowel habits all through 2021. At first I didn’t take too much notice of this because I’ve had recurring constipation for a number of years which was usually put down to my MS.

Diagnosis came in January 2022 of Stage 4 bowel cancer with a solitary liver met. It was all very difficult to take in at first, but with the help of my wife and family we’re all very pragmatic about things now. I’m on chemo with a hope of surgery to follow.

Whilst I have no regrets, I do wish I’d pushed my GP more about my symptoms sooner. I’m certainly now banging the drum about pushing your GP if friends or family have ANY symptoms.

Natalie Batchelor

In the months before my stage 4 bowel cancer diagnosis I felt very unwell but put it down to other health issues. I went on a girls trip to Madrid to celebrate our 40th birthdays and realised I couldn’t keep up with my friends. I was breathless, exhausted and I had tummy and lower back pains.. I saw my gp several times. I was anaemic but was just told to take iron tablets. I was tested for angina.

I had brain surgery to remove a tumour October 2018, we think that surgery saved my life. Two weeks later, whilst recovering i had a bowel obstruction. I ended up in a&e and had an emergency hemicolectomy, six tumours were removed from my large intestine. I received my diagnosis (T4N1c) December 2018. I started 12 rounds of folfox chemotherapy in January 2019 which was really tough as I was so weak after my surgeries. I couldn’t have done it without my husband, family and friends.
Listen to your body if you don’t feel well, keep a toilet diary and keep talking to your gp. I have been ok but the fear of my cancer returning is always in my mind.

Mari Faulkner

I was having a bad pain in my right shoulder for about 6 months, and I thought it was an old shoulder injury recurring. One Saturday afternoon in August 2020 I had the shoulder pain and a new pain in my chest and breathlessness, this gradually got worse and my mum made me phone 'Out of Hours'
I was told to go to my local A&E with a suspected lung clot.
No lung clot was found and they did suspect gallstones so sent home with an appointment for an ultrasound scan 3 weeks later.
No gallstones were found during the ultrasound, but they did find lessions on my liver, a CT scan the same day confirmed this and I was told, alone due to Covid, that I had cancer, but they didn't know what type of cancer until they could do a liver biopsy, I was also told, do not Google liver cancer.
Liver biopsy, followed by a colonoscopy that confirmed bowel cancer.
I've had 3 cycles of chemo and immunotherapy, a partial liver resection and removal of the tiny primary tumour and am now due for a second operation to remove the remaining tumours in my liver next month

Laura Hindley

This is me and my family in Florida Christmas 2014 after an emergency temporary stoma (tumour to large to allow anything to pass), 5 weeks of chemo radiotherapy, a 7hr op to remove my anus and rectum with a permanent colostomy formed and temporary ileostomy reversed, wound infection and 6 months of mop up chemo. It wasn’t quite how I thought I’d spend my 35th year on the planet. However, I aimed for that holiday in Florida and having just returned from there again - I am so grateful to be well, managing my stoma with ease and being here with my family.

carole Lloyd

I was diagnosed with bowel cancer last year I now have undergone surgery and have a colostomy plus some 14weeks of radiotherapy Unfortunately it would appear that this cancer is in our family

Andy Thomson

December 2020 I was diagnosed with stage 2 bowel cancer and had a Low Anterior Resection and Loop Ileostomy…I.e. the 4th part of my bowl removed and a stoma . but 7 day’s later I had my Ileostomy reversal , which is just unheard of…because of complications….the staff at Southend Hospital cared for in the height of covid lockdown.
It has been a long journey of recovery and discovery of my bowels healing and working …. I’m in year 2 of remission, cancer free but I take nothing for granted and I can’t repeat myself enough…If you pass blood when you poo …PLEASE tell your doctor….

Denis Dent

Grandad was diagnosed with bowel cancer four years ago he underwent surgery at north tees he’s surgeon successfully removed grandads Tumor after 7 hours of surgery and here he is today four years on fighting fit

Kelly Broster

I was diagnosed in January 2022 with bowel cancer, aged 42, after thinking most of last year that I had a hernia, and putting my symptoms of severe anaemia down to the effects of covid. Luckily my doctor listened to me in December and once my anaemia was picked up, all the tests and scans started. My first thought on hearing the news that I had cancer was how am I going to tell my two boys? Unfortunately my tumour is large and complicated so I am currently on cycle 2 of 12 of folfox chemotherapy in the hope that it will shrink away from blood vessels and make it operable. I have also had to have a jejunostomy feeding tube fitted as I had lost weight, and the tumour is blocking my bowel. Now I have started treatment I am feeling more positive, and so grateful to the all the doctors and nurses at the hospital. I still have a long journey ahead but already know that I really want to help raise awareness about the symptoms and that you are never too young for bowel cancer, no matter what anyone says. Know your body!

Ian Fountain

In early 2012, following extreme tiredness, my wife Elizabeth had a tumour the size of an orange removed from the right side of her bowel with 11 of 13 lymph nodes affected. Chemo over the next 18 months failed to work, and the cancer became metastatic. In October 2013, Elizabeth went into the hospice for respite care and passed away on 10 Nov.
Also in October 2013, I noticed blood in my poo. Due to the circumstances, I did nothing until early 2014. Investigation showed a tumour that had just broken through the bowel wall - 2 lymph nodes affected. Following removal and a short course of chemo, I have been clear since then.

Ruth Stevens

I remember feeling shattered most days. I had on and off bleeding. I went to gps and was told I had hemorrhoids and given cream. The bleeding got worse and my bowel habits changed and I was exhausted. I went back again and had a blood test, samples taken and was put on the list for a colonscopy. Each time told I was to young to have bowel cancer. The gp journey took months. 3 days before my 40th I was diagnosed with stage 3 bowel cancer. Over the next month I had a CT scan, bloods and a high interior resection operation to remove the tumour I was so grateful how quick they acted once tumour was found I just wish I hadn't gone through hell to get to diagnoses. I went on to have 6 months of mop up chemotherapy. It's been a year since diagnoses and all tests,scans and colonscopy is clear I literally can't believe how lucky I am. I later found out my bloods the gp sent off and samples were never screened for cancer/tumour indicators. I was weeks away from going into stage 4 and classed as a near miss.

Lisa Rowe

I was diagnosed with bowel cancer at 34 after spending a month in hospital without a diagnosis, 4 months later I had an 11 hour operation and Hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy during my operation , a colostomy (which was later reversed ) and further months of chemo after my operation after being told I was too young to have bowel cancer .. #thisisbowelcancer #nevertoyoung #bowelbabe

Claire Griggs

Diagnosed with stage 3 locally advanced bowel cancer at 37 a few days before Christmas. My life changed forever.

I knew something was wrong and I went back and forth to my GP for years being told it was IBS, abdominal migraines etc. A couple years later I kept pushing as I was worried about the pain and constant anaemia. I was finally referred for a colonoscopy, which due to lock down was delayed for nearly a year. Then came the scans, consultations and open surgery and intense chemotherapy.

I can’t thank my family, friends, the nurses and support from MacMillan and online communities such as Bowel Cancer UK for advice and support. I am in remission 1 year on but I live my life to the full and spend time with those I love the most. Cancer becomes part of your life forever and you learn to adapt and appreciate the positives in life.

Hazel Stewart

I was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2019. After an operation to remove the tumor and 80% of my large colon, I then had 12 rounds of Folfox chemotherapy! The treatment was hard going but the support received from family, friends and my work got me through.I always feel genuinely lucky to have had this disease discovered and treated early! All my check ups since have been clear....and now I enjoy living life to the fullest! Having cancer has helped me stop worrying about the small stuff and has given me a new found confidence...even joining the local woman's rugby team!

Martin Whatmough

Diagnosed in May 2020, I ended up having a right hemicolectomy in June. In March 2021 after another colonoscopy it was discovered that irregular cells were apparent. So in October 2021 I had another resection leaving me with just the sigmoid part left.
Its been a difficult journey. I had no symptoms except for fatigue but after numerous blood tests my iron levels were low with no other explanation so a colonoscopy was carried out. I feel ok now and due another check up in May 2022. Would never have got through it without the support of my partner Angela who has been my rock. I thank the stars I got myself checked out and the tumour was discovered before it was to late.

Davina Bell

Following a routine blood test in 2018 my GP called me in and asked why I was anaemic. I had no idea. Thankfully she arranged urgent endoscopy and colonoscopy where I was told I had bowel cancer. I was 51yrs old and had previously lost my auntie to bowel cancer aged 52 and my Dad to oesophageal cancer aged 53. My world fell apart. Working as a Community Palliative Care Nurse Specialist I knew only too well what the future may hold.
Within a month I had a right hemicolectomy and was told that if even one lymph node contained tumour then I would be having chemo. Incredibly out of 25 nodes taken, none contained any tumour, so further treatment was not needed. I was so grateful. It took me a long time to understand and accept that I had been so ‘lucky’ thanks to a fluke diagnosis - it could have been a very different story if it had gone unnoticed. This experience has changed my life completely, and I now appreciate every moment.
Early detection saves lives x

Michael Trotman

Was diagnosed with a T2 colorectal tumour in December 2019 and underwent chemo radiotherapy in the spring of 2020, just when covid hit. Regular endoscopies showed little change in the tumour so they decided to operate. Numerous post-op complications and several visits to A&E eventually resulted in the discovery that the tumour had recurred and was now T4 and aggressively working its way through my prostate towards my bladder. The only option was a massive operation called a Total Pelvic Exenteration, which involved 13 hours of surgery and the removal of most of my non vital organs. Sciatic nerve damage during surgery and neuropathy caused by adjuvant chemotherapy has left me with permanent walking and balance problems, but I’m still here and able to watch my children grow up. I’m also involved in a new Facebook group for pelvic exenteration patients and would be delighted to assist with any questions or advice.

John Coyne

After a colonoscopy on 24th Feb 21 I was taken to a side room and told they had found a cancerous tumor. I was a fit 43yr old father of 2 and had been assured by 2 docs that the blood in my stools was just plain old piles and I was too young to be worrying about anything else. Luckily the 2nd doc decided on more tests, probably just to shut me up but that decision 100% has saved my life. Since then I had 5 wks of chemoradiation in April/May and so far I had a complete clinical response. I'm now on the watch and wait program with MRI scans and sigmoidoscopies every few months. So far these have all been clear and I try not worry about what the future has in store. So far I'm just thankful that I got my 2nd opinion and was listened to and until anything ever changes I'll be living my life to the full and trying to raise awareness that you are never too young for bowel cancer.

Sophie Shardlow

On the first day of lockdown in March 2020 the colonoscopy showed a big tumour. No symptoms apart from tiredness due to anemia. A trip to the theatre on my birthday removed a 20cm tumour in my ascending colon plus plenty of lymph nodes, but no stoma. Four months of chemo followed which was tough but seemed to do the job with a NED 12 month later scan.
However I struggled to put on weight and thought I had ibs, but a large tumour has now grown in my mesentery (nope never hear of it before either but it’s in your tummy!) and liver mets.
So now given a prognosis of 3-4 months. Trying palliative chemo but boy my body fights chemo! It’s weird knowing that’s it, but not as bad as I thought,
Despite all of this I am happy. Cancer and lockdown stopped me working and gave me the best life, home with my lovely family and friends enjoying simple things and relishing the moment!

Hilda Chiwanza

I was diagnosed with bowel cancer in July 2021 aged 38. I barely had symptoms apart from fatigue and severe bloating after eating. I had blood tests done which states I was severely anaemic which led to a stool sample that ended up leading to a colonoscopy referral. Two weeks later I found out I had a tumour that had started spreading to my psoas muscle. Due to the size of the tumour I had to go through 6 rounds of chemo to shrink it. I had surgery in December 2021 which was a success. I’m now having the final mop up chemo which is precautionary. It’s been tough, I’ve cried and laughed but overall, I remain positive.

Hilda Chiwanza

I was diagnosed with bowel cancer in July 2021 aged 38. I barely had symptoms apart from fatigue and severe bloating after eating. I had blood tests done which states I was severely anaemic which led to a stool sample that ended up leading to a colonoscopy referral. Two weeks later I found out I had a tumour that had started spreading to my psoas muscle. Due to the size of the tumour I had to go through 6 rounds of chemo to shrink it. I had surgery in December 2021 which was a success. I’m now having the final mop up chemo which is precautionary. It’s been tough, I’ve cried and laughed but overall, I remain positive.

Elena Provvedi

I was 31 when I was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. I'd gone to my GP for a year prior to my diagnosis complaining of a sore stomach. I had lost weight and couldn’t sit because of hemorrhoids, I was fatigued and eventually passing blood in my stools but because of my age, my symptoms were dismissed for IBS.
One morning I woke feeling so ill and weak, I could barely stand. I was rushed into A&E and taken for an emergency colonoscopy. When I heard the news that I had bowel cancer, part of me was (ironically) relieved, as for months I'd felt like my symptoms were imagined and that I was going mad.
When I was diagnosed, the cancer had already metastasised to my liver and lung and after numerous operations, a reverse stoma, chemotherapy, radiation and the help of the most amazing doctors and nurses at St Thomas and Guys Hospital, I can happily say I have been cancer free for the past 10 years.
The one thing I have learnt is to listen to my body and fight for help - you know when something is wrong, don’t let others make you feel differently

Angela Evans

After noticing blood in my stools for a few months, of which I thought could be piles, I finally went to see my GP. I was examined and referred immediately.
In April 2015 I underwent a 9 hour operation to remove a large tumour from the lower part of my bowel. I had to have a colostomy bag for 1 year at which point I could then have the operation reversed with the bowel rejoined. Exactly a year later in April 2016 I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer for the 2nd time so there was no option other than to have a double mastectomy. This meant that I was unable to have my Bowel reversal operation until October 2017. The operation was a success. The colostomy bag was removed but as I couldn’t use my bowel for 6 months, I had an Iliostomy bag. In May 2018 I had my final operation and finally after 3 years I could poo normal again! This photo of me is 8 weeks later, on holidays with my family enjoying life!
#thisisbowelcancer
#lovinglife
@susaq12
@bowelbabe

Barbara Compton

I cannot stress enough how important it is to do the bowel cancer screening test. I had NO symptoms but after returning my test I was called back; had a colonoscopy; a stage 3 tumour was diagnosed; an operation followed to remove the tumour and 16 lymph nodes. 6 months of chemo which actually ran to over 7 due to low potassium levels - and now I am clear. The test is vital. I was lucky that I did it. The Clatterbridge staff who looked after me were wonderful, I felt like part of a happy family during treatment.

Andrea valton-pascoal

After consistently seeing blood in my faeces, I was sent for a routine colonoscopy in Jun 2019. What should have been a routine procedure turned into the beginning of a nightmare because the doctor perforated my colon and I began to develop septicaemia. I was sent for emergency surgery to remove the tumour and the damaged part of my colon and was fitted with a colostomy bag. After a 10 day hospital stay, 4 of which were in intensive care, I had to wait another 3 weeks for the confirmed diagnosis which made my nightmare even worse! I had 6 months of chemo and I'm proud to say that I am a bowel cancer survivor. The operation to remove my colostomy was cancelled twice due to covid. After an agonising and depressing 2 year wait, I finally had the surgery to remove my colostomy in Nov 2021 but was fitted with an Ileostomy to allow the reattached colon to heal. Its April 2022 and I am now awaiting the reversal of my Ileostomy. #thisisbowelcancer

Anne Price

I was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2013. Had seen spots of blood in my stools but my doctor told me that I had diverticulitis. Went to see a different doctor who sent me to see a specialist at the hospital. I was diagnosed with bowel cancer. I was admitted to hospital, had my operations but I was told I needed to have twelve sessions of chemotherapy to run every two weeks. This made me feel quite poorly, but gosh wasn’t it worth it. I was told January 2014 that I was clear of all the cancer. It is now 2022 and I’m 82 on the 23 April so all that I went through was well worth it and I can only thank all the medical staff that helped in my treatment. God bless you all xxxx

Emma Campbell

I was diagnosed with advanced bowel cancer (which had spread to my liver) in Feb 2020 aged just 36. My children were just 7, 4 and 9 months old at the time; I think sadly my pregnancy was ‘blamed’ for a lot of my symptoms. But I knew something wasn’t right and purchased a private stool sample which lead to my diagnosis (via a colonoscopy).
My treatment began the week of lockdown in March 2020! Impeccable timing as ever! However I did get all clear later that year, and was able to stick two fingers up at cancer by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in January 2022 with some other bowelies… together we raised over £40,000 for Bowel Cancer UK!
I have unfortunately recently had a reoccurance in the liver, but I plan to beat this again, and once and for all.. and I’m already planning my next adventures! Cancer is always with me and I worry about mine & my kids futures, but it won’t define me. #thisisbowelcancer

Ruth Abrahamson

My dear friend had been diagnosed with terminal BC , her legacy was to educate as many people as possible . I decided to check out my own symptoms - weight loss, extreme tiredness and so when I really noticed a lot of blood in my poo, I decided to go to the GP.
In Dec 2017 he sent me for a fast track colonoscopy.
At the age of 52 years , a tumour was found. I was completely numb with shock! You never forget the time someone tells you that you have cancer- 16/12/17 at 3:40 pm!!
I was diagnosed with stage 3 with a 16cm tumour
2 days later I had a five hour operation to remove the tumour I then had to have five months of chemo ( my first day of chemo was the day my dearest friend died 😒)
Feeling very I have now been in remission for 4 years!
I’m so eternally grateful for the reactions of my GP who instigated my whole journey to me surviving this dreadful disease.
Feeling extremely fortunate and lucky to have been “educated “ by my dearest friend πŸ’œ

Natasha Weldon

I was diagnosed Stage 3 rectal cancer in August 2013. I’d had about 10 GP appointments for symptoms - I’d even suggested bowel cancer but was told that, at 42, I was ‘too young, therefore the diagnosis DURING a sigmoidoscopy wasn’t much of a shock. I had 28 fractions of radio chemotherapy, surgery, 6 cycles of IV oxalyplatin and then stoma reversal a year later. I’m now just over 8 years NED but get a colonoscopy every 3 years to keep an eye on things. If you even suspect bowel cancer, never let your GP gob you off, if I hadn’t kept nagging and believed it was just haemorrhoid, I wouldn’t still be here.

Chris Rowbottom

I was diagnosed in February 2020 with stage 4 bowel cancer, with mets to my lung and liver, 1 was 48. I had been going to my GP for 10years and had been told on numerous occasions it was piles, which I never questioned. II started to lose weight at the end of 2019 and had blood when.I went to the toilet so went back to my GP and they decided to send me for investigations, but told me it was more than likely just polyps.
I wish I had pushed harder for these investigations sooner and had known more about bowel cancer symptoms.
I have been on active treatment for the last two years and luckily covid did not jolt any of my treatment but it’s been so hard having to attend appointments alone. My wife and my 12/14 year old children have been such a huge support through this time and they are pushing me to fight cancer with all I have.
I wish everyone knew the symptoms and that early detection could save your life.. You are never too young to get bowel cancer. Advocate for your own health.
Stage 4 definitely deserves more.

Gayle Crane

I was diagnosed with stage 3 rectal cancer March 2021. My symptoms for years had just been put down to ibs. To find out at the age of 36 with three young children that I had cancer was heartbreaking...but after chemoradiotherapy, low anterior resection & iloestomy surgery and 4 rounds of chemotherapy I am still here. I am thankful for the love & support of my family who I wouldn't of got through it without and I am hopeful for the future.

Jill Nieuwoudt

Diagnosed Aug 2021. 28 days of chemo & radiotherapy at the same time. Recovery ❀️‍🩹 going well. My husband currently running 28 consecutive half marathons to replicate my 28 days of treatment..he is my secret weapon. Love ❀️ & a really positive mindset has helped significantly. X

Liz Abbott

I was diagnosed in July 2020, with Stage 4 bowel cancer, which had spread to my liver. I was 34 years old, with 2 young daughters at the time. It all started with chronic headaches, and the discovery that I was severely anaemic. After various scans, 2 blood transfusions, a lumbar puncture, a colonoscopy and endoscopy, it was discovered. I never dreamt that my symptoms would be the result of bowel cancer, however in hindsight, I had the majority of the key symptoms, I had just never linked them all together! After 8 rounds of chemotherapy and a life saving operation in January 2021, I am currently in a stable position and continuing to enjoy life and help raise awareness!

Julie Anderson

Mum had stage 4 non metastasised bowel cancer. It was rare- it was an anal cancer found in the bowel. 1-2 cases per year. She had an 8cm tumour- chemo-radiation moved her to NED state. No surgery. Sadly unrelated breast cancer took mum too soon at 64 but the bowel cancer. Wow.

Chloe Hackett

My mum got diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer in March 2018. 10 months after first visiting her GP with symptoms. She was 59 and initially misdiagnosed in late 2017 with diverticulosis. I’d had my son, her first grandchild in August 2017. She was recasted to know she wouldn’t see him grow up. She had 10 rounds of palliative IV chemo & scans showed it had stabilised the cancer. 2 months later however it had grown again. Mum suffered with depression, had done most of her adult life. She hadn’t the will to carry on. 22nd October 2019 she passed away. I was by her side for the final days. Had she been diagnosed earlier, she may still be here.

Emma Purchase

Chris was diagnosed with bowel cancer when he was just 36 years old in 2018. We had a 1.5 year old daughter and I was 16 weeks pregnant with our second child. Unfortunately his cancer was incurable, it had spread through his lymph nodes and eventually spread to his spine. Through all of it he was incredibly stoic, took every hard step and bad news in his stride and did everything he could to keep living for our children. He died on the 29th of Feb 2020.
I will be forever grateful for the unconditional love he showed us and for the memories we made together. Bowel cancer has changed our lives forever, we miss him everyday πŸ–€

Anna McAleese

My story is a little different. Unfortunately not a happy ending. Cancer doesn’t care about your age, or fitness or anything. This is my dad, just 2 days before being diagnosed with Stage 4 Advanced Metastatic Bowel Cancer. He looks like a young fit healthy man. He fought hard for exactly 1 year and 28 days, but unfortunately passed on July 30th 2021. Please don’t ignore symptoms even if they seem minor! My dad was only 51 and had so much life left to live, he was the funniest, most incredible man I have ever had the privilege of knowing and I am so eternally grateful that I got him as my dad for 22 incredible years. With all the hard scan results telling us it had spread and chemotherapy wasn’t working, he never had a dull day, he laughed, smiled and cherished life until his very last day. No one deserves this is horrible illness. If anyone is going through a parent suffering from this illness or has lost someone to this illness, i’m here as a listening ear as I understand. Thank you to bowel cancer UK for this lovely idea where others can support each other ♥️

Jayne Allen

On the 27th May 2021 I heard the words "It's bowel cancer." I can't describe what hearing that makes you feel but I know I will never forget it. I have 3 young children. I couldn't help but ask if I would see them grow up. Was I going to be ok? Thankfully out of a truly terrible situation I could be treated and ultimately cured. It was tough. 5 intense weeks of radiotherapy, 1 major 10 hour op, 4 cycles of chemo and a permanent stoma. This was a massive team effort from me, my family & friends, my amazing surgeons, and the heroic doctors and nurses. I'll never not think about cancer. I'll never not wonder if it's back but I'm doing my best to live my life for me and my family.

Megan Smith

My 22 year old sister Megan had visited the GP on a number of occasions in the summer of 2018 after having symptoms of bleeding, diarrhoea and constipation but was miss diagnosed with piles, despite having lost a lot of weight.
She was unfortunately finally diagnosed after we pushed for her a colonoscopy, even after her procedure we were still told that they are 99% sure it’s crohns, unfortunately again they were wrong and Megan had advanced stage 4 rectal cancer.
As you could imagine this was absolutely devastating news for Megan and her family, especially after being told she was too young for cancer! This makes me so angry! My sister unfortunately died in September 2021. If only she could of been listen too and diagnosed earlier. She would most likely still be with us now.
Megan was a huge inspiration to many she blogged her story sharing her experiences battling this awful disease. she also raised so much awareness advising people to get checked if they were showing symptoms.
Me and my family are in the process of setting up a charity in Honour of our sister to help other Young Cancer patients going through similar experiences.

Jennifer Chambers

6th November 2020. Just when I thought the year couldn’t get any stranger, I found myself fighting a different kind of ‘C word.

After going to the doctors for over 2 years with chronic fatigue, I was eventually taken seriously. Alarmed by the description of my symptoms, I was referred for an urgent colonoscopy, just to be on the safe side. Probably IBS they said.

That problem was a 4cm cancerous tumour which required urgent major surgery. Less than a week and a half later I walked into the hospital alone thanks to COVID and underwent a four hour successful bowel resection, not out of the woods though, I still needed to wait for the biopsy and MRI results.

Said results came two weeks later and just like that I was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic bowel cancer affecting 6 out of 17 nodes and at least 8 liver mets. Incurable but for now treatable. FFS!

17 months later having clocked up 21 cycles of chemo and counting, I’m still kicking the ass out of cancer and determined to carry on doing so. There’s a saying - whilst there are options, there is hope. Long may that continue! @fittobeatcancer

Samantha Hourd

I was diagnosed with bowel cancer at 37 following a sigmoidoscopy for suspected colitis in June 2021. My symptoms prior to diagnosis had never registered with me as being bowel cancer, and my GP equally reassured me it was nothing to worry about, and it was likely “just a bit of colitis…”

Sadly, the cancer had already spread to my liver and one lung. I started chemotherapy in August 21, and had subsequent chemoradiation over Xmas and New Year. I underwent a liver resection in March 22. I am now recovering at home, before pending lung and bowel resection subject to scans.

Despite my diagnosis I have remained positive and take a more simplistic approach to life, appreciating the small things and being grateful for every new day.

Heather Breed

I was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2019 aged 42. I had had tummy pain for months and was quite anaemic but no change in bowel habits. My doctor thankfully decided to refer me for a colonoscopy and it took a few months for the appointment but they found a tumour. I had a right hemicolectomy and luckily there was no sign of spread in the lymph nodes they removed.
I have since be diagnosed with Lynch syndrome so my kids will be tested for the gene and get monitored if necessary and I will be monitored for life. I feel pretty lucky that my cancer was caught early

Natasha Kidd

I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Bowel Cancer in October 2013, Reading T4 N1 MO. I was aged 31.

I had a right extended hemicolectomy in November 2013 removing my appendix, half my bowel and 28 lymph modes, one of which contained cancer.

Six Months of chemotherapy finished in July 2014 and I went into remission.

In December 2017 I was told a small spot had been found on my liver which was 80% in favour of cancer. After operating to remove the spot I was thankfully informed that the spot was cancer free, but still subject to a further five years of check ups.

I am now today 9 years cancer free and in remission and about to turn 40.

Lauren Fresa

In Feb 2021when I was 33 I was diagnosed with rectal cancer & liver mets.
By Sept 2020 my bowel habits had changed. I rang my GP, was given laxatives for weeks & told I was too young for it to be anything serious! I became pregnant in Oct & symptoms worsened. They were blamed on my pregnancy.
I then started vomiting & called an Ambulance. Within 48hours I needed life saving surgery to have a stoma 'installed'.
24 hours later I had lost our baby boy 😒 4 days later I was given the diagnosis.
I had 5 rounds of chemotherapy followed by scans. These scans showed that the chemo and radiotherapy hadn't worked at all.
I decided to change hospitals and was put on a different chemo which began in September 2021. I had a CT scan on 21st December which showed that the liver mets had shrunk a lot and it seemed to be working!
I've since had an MRI scan which I am waiting for the results for.
I have since started an Instagram page (@cancermyarse) to try and rise awareness and spread a message that you are never too young.

Rachel Sprunt

2019, I’d been told by my old GP practice over several years the blood in my poo was because I had piles after child birth, and the diarrhoea was because of IBS & a gluten intolerance. I changed GP practice, they thought I had Crohn’s. 4-6 weeks later I had a colonoscopy and found out I had stage 3 bowel cancer. Within 10 days I’d been scanned from top to toe, operated on by a robot and my sigmoid colon removed.
It’s now 2022, I’ve just turned 40 and May will hopefully mark three years cancer free!
I’ve learnt; a) to listen to my body b) that asking for a second medical opinion is OK c) you’re never to young to have bowel cancer.

Margaret Eade

Had a mucus for a few times, then just a tiny spot of blood. Local practice nurse arranged tests and an appointment with GP. Tests came back negative, she arranged one more test. Urgent call from doctor arranged 24 hour call and appointment with colonoscopy appointment at local hospital. Found 2 large polyps, one removed but doctor not happy with 2nd one. Referred to specialist, tried to remove not happy and took seversl biopsied, also sent for urgent scan, same day. Result cancer of bowel, operation within week. Result early stage cancer removed. Regular blood tests, etc for next 5 years. Take note, anything remotely unusual seek urgent doctor's appointment and request tests. I was very surprised, as I felt healthy at the time.

Rebecca Shaw

From 2011- 2016 bowel cancer was part of our families story till it took the 2 strongest people from my life, my mum and dad 10 months apart.
I was 12 weeks pregnant with my son when mum passed and my son was 16 weeks old when my dad passed.
They were young mum 55 dad 56 both misdiagnosed for months due to their age. One GP told my dad 'stop worrying its not cancer' a week later he was told its cancer.
Both were fit and healthy, both were still working weeks before they passed.
Both lived life with cancer till the end.
Dad never said 'why me' but 'why not me.'
I miss them dearly but they and their journey will always part of my life and story.

Rowenna Sinclair

I went to the doctors after a week of a ‘bad tummy’ was sent to hospital for scans, they kept me in. Nearly 2 weeks later they decided it was Crohn’s disease and sent me for surgery. Once opened up they found a large tumour. Not crohns. I had an ileostomy and sewn back up and passed on to the big boys at Singleton. 3 months of chemo later I am waiting for the next surgery to remove Terry the tumour and one day have my ileostomy reversed. Hopefully.

Claire bickley

Back in 2017 I received the devastating news I had FAP , a member of my family had spent years having polyps removed from her bowel when eventually in 2016 Genetics agreed to have our family tested. I had no symptoms or so I thought, bloating and tiredness and lots of gas after certain foods. Fast forward 2 operations and the removal of my large bowel and a temporary ileostomy and I’m here to tell the tale 🧑 Without the screening this would of gone undetected and my story would of been so different. I will eventually have a permanent ileostomy one day But that’s all fingers crossed a long way ahead🧑Yearly screening and listening to my body is what’s prevented my story being so different and I will be forever grateful for the Choices and Options our NHS & Cancer Services offer

Kenny Murray

Life changes the day you are diagnosed with cancer, its always there in the back of your mind. When I got my diagnosis in 2019 aged 50 I thought I was done for, I was all over the place. With the care, treatment and support of some amazingly dedicated people, I made it to the start line of inverness half marathon 2 weeks ago, running for bowel cancer uk. Best advice, keep putting one foot in front of the other, keep smiling and take each day as it comes.

Siobhan Ashburn

My dad was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer in March 2009 and 4 weeks later he passed away; he was 65. He didn't have any of the usual symptoms ,making his diagnosis even more difficult to accept. I now visit a doctor immediately if I think there is something that needs to checked and as I get older will go to all the routine medical checks that I need to attend.

Stephen Patterson

I was diagnosed at age 61 in December 2017 with stage 2 bowel cancer. I thought I had extreme fatigue. Operated on in January 2018, they managed to get it all🀞I was lucky and have only to deal with two liveable hernias which showed after 18 months. The hernias have restricted my ability to return to the work and hobbies that I had and that created the bigger challenge of a struggle with my mental health. I’m still clear and I had the enormous privilege of seeing two of my daughters get married and I have two more grandchildren. Cancer for my family and I has been a journey that has taught us a lot and made me view life in a totally new life. I’ve made new and old friends have supported me. It all thanks to magnificent surgeons, our NHS, getting great information from bowel cancer UK and cancer specialists. My future is bright and we are getting on with it

Emily Andov

I will never forget the day the results came, my phone rang. It was the GP surgery they were urgently trying to get hold of my dad (he was at work and had missed the call) I was ordered to ensure I got my dad down to the surgery asap. My stomach dropped.

We sat in the waiting room together, my dad was shaking and I could see tears welling up behind his eyes. He knew, the thing he had been desperately trying to ignore and convince himself wouldn’t be ‘that bad’ was exactly that. Bad.

Within 14 days he had been seen at the hospital, undergone tests at which a tumour ‘the largest of which the doctor had seen’ was discovered in his bowel and believed to have spread to ‘surrounding’ areas. Dad had a stoma fitted and Chemo & Radiotherapy thrown at him. This was March 2018. We lost him 7th September 2018 two days after his 60th…The icing on the cake was receiving his NHS invitation to bowel screening two days after he died.

My dad had symptoms, big flashing red signs and he ignored them. If you have, don’t ignore them and wait to be screened.

Annika Harrison

I was diagnosed with stage IV bowel cancer at the age of 36. I was juggling my three young kids, a full time job and a household. I was tired and definitely ignoring the niggling back pain I was experiencing. Whilst I was going through an emotionally tough time, I really had no other symptoms and bowel cancer was no where on my radar. Being told by the doctor that I have stage IV cancer and that I should live every day as if it was my last was shattering! I think I didn’t quite understand the gravity of that situation until much later. Nearly 5 years later and I am still here! Stage 4 is terrifying and I have been through some very dark patches. Since 2017 I have had 5 major surgeries, countless rounds of chemo and radiation, a gazillion blood tests, PET, CT and MRI scans. I have now been told that I am out of options in terms of traditional treatment options. I am currently looking into clinical trials and am hoping that something viable will open up. I still have rebellious hope that everything will work out and I will see my kiddos grow up!

Miriam Smith

My father was diagnosed with advanced bowel cancer in 2008 and passed away 2 years later, so it was a bit of a shock, in 2019, to be diagnosed, at the age of 54, with the same disease myself. I had been feeling very fatigued and bowel movements had been generally upset but as I cared for my mother (who has dementia) as well as a full time job, the fatigue in particular, didn't seem unexpected. Luckily, here in Scotland, routine bowel testing begins at 50 and this highlighted a problem. Subsequent tests led to my diagnosis. Within a month I had an operation for an extended hemi-colectomy and had 3 months of chemo after that. Not the best time of my life, but weirdly not the worst either. There was so much support from family, friends and new friends made during treatment and so far subsequent tests have been clear. Moral of the story is - when your bowel test comes in the post - DO THE TEST! It literally could save your life.

Helen Gray

My husband, John was diagnosed with stage 2 bowel cancer in Jan 2021. Exactly one month later he had surgery and was left with an ileostomy. He had 4 lots of chemo and went for a reversal in January '22 which went drastically wrong, nearly losing him due to a hole in the bowel and a raging infection. Emergency surgery resulted in having another ileostomy and bag. But he's still here and 2 wks ago he was given the all clear!!

Sally Heron

I was diagnosed of stage 3 bowel cancer at the age of 39, a single mum to 3 boys and half way through a full time degree. After chemo, radiotherapy, surgery and more chemo, I went into remission and have been cancer free for 9 years. I have since done fundraising for BCUK and being on a patient panel for new treatments. It’s really important to give back and give hope to other people πŸ’œ

Andrea Lowe

Start of 2020 I was diagnosed with stage 3 bowel cancer, at the age of 40, after a couple of years of issues. Huge shock. Everything moved fast and 5 weeks to the day I was in surgery having 30cm of my colon removed, followed a little while after by 10 cycles of chemo. It was the hardest thing to deal with physically, mentally and emotionally. But I got through it and you find a strength you never knew you had. I feel like one of the lucky ones to be saying currently I’m cancer free πŸ’™

Lisa Patton

I was diagnosed in Aug 2021 aged 39 with stage 2 colon cancer. Nothing prepares you for this. Life becomes uncertain in a split second. I had surgery in September to remove the tumour but it had started to spread into my blood vessels so I’m currently on chemo cycle 6 of 8.

Fatigue, joint pain, dry skin all plague my body daily.
I do however feel lucky that professionals acted when they did and ultimately saved my life. I’m 40 now and hoping for remission in the coming months.

Dawn White

My 56 year old big sister who had learning difficulties I am telling you this because she was having accident s with her bowels and she thought it was normal !!! WHY because in 2006 she had cancer of the womb and had everything took away and they told her the side effects were loose bowels. November 2020 my sister had a pain in her side for a few days so took her to doctors cut long story short they took bloods and the next day I got a call to say she had to go to hospital they done loads of tests then came the dreaded word that she had bowel cancer and it had spread to her lungs and liver nothing they could do for her ,said it would be just months . She had her last Christmas with me and my family her husband who was down syndrome and had recently gone into a home because he has Alzheimer's she never got to see again because of COVID. My brave big sister passed away 16th February 2021 x

Greig Smith

This is painful for me to do but I am now so passionate about the need for everyone to climb onboard and make a concerted effort to beat this horrendous beast, I'm prepared to step up and share my story. On 2nd November 2015, I lost my darling wife of 34 years to bowel cancer when she was only 55. She was diagnosed only 8 months earlier but, despite every encouragement from me, chose to ignore her symptoms for 12 months. Her passing devastated me, not least because I spent 12 months relentlessly but fruitlessly trying to persuade to have her symptoms investigated. Stubbornness is also a killer. Her passing made me an activist in trying to persuade others to get themselves checked out. Then in March 2020, I myself was diagnosed with prostate cancer, discovered by chance, but caught early. Two years of treatment and things are looking encouraging - everything crossed for the future. If possible, I have become a greater advocate for awareness and action. I salute all those in the battle.

Sheila Rogers

Hi, my bowel cancer was discovered, purely by accident in 2014. I had been having problems with constipation for a while, and as I have MS too, thought it was probably down to that. I had further tests, and they found a tumour in the ascending colon. I had the surgery to remove the tumour in September and my cancer had not spread, so no chemotherapy needed. The surgery did affect my MS though, and has had a massive impactvon my mobility too.

Loretta Anderson

I was diagnosed with bowel cancer following routine screening November 2021. After many scans and tests I had sucessful surgery to remove the tumour at the beginning of January and had an illeostomy to rest my bowel. They removed 28 lymph nodes, all clear, so no other treatment needed. I am now preparing for surgery in the next few weeks to reverse the stoma. I feel blessed that early diagnosis has basically saved my life and have been surprised and horrified when talking to others in my age group (over 60s) who do not do the screening, when it literally comes through their letterbox. Please do the simple test, it can save your life!

Lucy Walton

Diagnosed aged 48 what I’ve learned so far:
Bowel Cancer - It’s A Love Hate Thing!
I hate that people think everyone who has cancer is dying but I love that I can tell them that currently I am not!
I hate that people’s reaction to your news is to cry for me but I have learned to love that they care enough to do that for me.
I hate the wait for ‘news’ but love that when it comes I can plan my next move to fight this interloper!
I hate that cancer occasionally makes you wonder how long you will be around for but love that it’s made me cherish the little things in life much more.
I hate that the treatments sometimes limit what you can do but love that it forces you do things you never thought you would
I hate wondering what I did to deserve this but love that it doesn’t matter to me anymore!
I hate that I didn’t recognise the symptoms but love that I can make sure that everyone I know, now knows!

Lucy Walton

Diagnosed aged 48 what I’ve learned so far:
Bowel Cancer - It’s A Love Hate Thing!
I hate that people think everyone who has cancer is dying but I love that I can tell them that currently I am not!
I hate that people’s reaction to your news is to cry for me but I have learned to love that they care enough to do that for me.
I hate the wait for ‘news’ but love that when it comes I can plan my next move to fight this interloper!
I hate that cancer occasionally makes you wonder how long you will be around for but love that it’s made me cherish the little things in life much more.
I hate that the treatments sometimes limit what you can do but love that it forces you do things you never thought you would
I hate wondering what I did to deserve this but love that it doesn’t matter to me anymore!
I hate that I didn’t recognise the symptoms but love that I can make sure that everyone I know, now knows!

Lindi Kirwin

We have bowel cancer on both sides of our family!
My dad passed blood in the loo but put it down to Piles and used Haemorrhoid cream for months to ease his symptoms. ‘Being a man’ who never went to the doctors, he eventually realised he should get a proper check up.
They found a 2” tumour in his bowel near his anus and had it urgently removed. Dad lived with his irreversible colostomy bag for over thirty year’s thereafter; we called it Stanley Stoma!
My mum has struggled with Ulcerative Colitis for years and my Mother in Law died of bowel cancer too.
I’ve had nasty polyps removed during a camera investigation and I do the pooh screening test when they come through the door.
My advice, don’t be embarrassed about talking about the bowel; be vigilant.

Susan Marklew

Hi I was diagnosed with Stage 2 Bowel Cancer 8yrs as Yesterday thought my Life was over, but luckily I’m Cancer Free now and cannot thank the NHS enough for getting me where I am Today, so to all out there who are going through this Horrible Time, stay strong and be positive

Sarah Clark

May 16th 2020 my brother called me and said he’d been diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer. He was 47. He said “ don’t worry I’ll fight this sis” he gave it all he had but in January 2021 we learned he only had months left a few weeks later he suffered a stroke becoming bed bound.
On March 16 th 2021 he passed away at home with me and his brother at his side. We were devastated I felt like I needed to do something and on May 29th 2021 I shaved my head in his memory raising £1665 for Bowel Cancer UK. I made the local paper twice and I think I made him proud.

Fiona Nelson

My father was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2010 and passed away in 2013 at 54 years old, because of this I was screening regularly.
In 2018 I walked into the doctors room and I heard the words far too many people these days hear, I'm sorry its cancer.
I immediately joined a club no one ever wants to be a part of. I was diagnosed with stage 2 colon cancer at 29 years old, I was too young to have this “old persons cancer”. I did what every person who is diagnosed does and immediately searched out the five-year survival figures!
I am lucky, it was contained , it hadn’t spread, and it was eminently treatable!
Early detection and prevention is soo important!
It takes team work to get through Cancer, from skilled surgeons, doctors , nurses to family and friend. I have the most supportive, loving, caring lot and without all of them I don’t know where I would be! It really dose change the way you see things. I am now 4 years down the line and know I will celebrate many more cancerversaries, and I hope one day every person diagnosed will too!

Vicky Clements

I was diagnosed with stage 2-3 bowel cancer aged 52 almost 6 years ago after a routine colonoscopy with no bowel symptoms.
My treatment was a course of chemo radiation and my next scan was clear.
However within 6 months another scan revealed I had metastases in my liver. I had a liver resection but six months later the cancer was back again so I had a second resection. It returned again, this time in my lungs so I had 6months of chemotherapy. The cancer had shrunk but not disappeared.
This was followed by a course of radiotherapy. The tumours still grew, albeit slowly.
I’ve just had a second course of radiotherapy for the lung tumours and await the outcome.
It’s been a roller coaster and physically and mentally challenging but as a person living with stage 4 my life continues and I’m grateful for every day that I’m still alive.

Gill Bainbridge

I was diagnosed at the age of 41 in February 2021 through a colonoscopy. A colonoscopy that was just to ‘rule out anything sinister,’ except it didn’t!
The diagnosis hit us like a truck. I felt well and was the fittest and healthiest I’d been for a long time. I mean, surely you can’t run 5km regularly if you have a tumour in your backside?!
Surgery and chemotherapy in a global pandemic was tough but here I am, back at work and learning a new normal!
Bowel cancer has changed my whole perspective on life and has helped me find joy in the smallest of places. Without support from my family and friends, I wouldn’t have made it through the most brutal chapter of my life.

Nicky Crabbie

I found my colon rectal cancer by pure chance, well 'luck'. Had a FIT test just as my consultant super thorough. It revealed a tiny trace of microscopic blood in my stools and he suggested a colonoscopy. There and then he found my cancer. I had zero symptoms. I went to the doctor originally for something unrelated. Had an immediate CT scan on chest, abdomen and pelvis which thankfully revealed no spread to my liver and lungs. MRI on pelvis and rectum too, massed of blood tests, stoma nurse appointments and laxatives galore. Oh the glamour! My surgery was 3 weeks later to remove upper rectum, lymph nodes and part of my colon. A week later I came out of hospital, shaken and stirred, but I was doing ok. Surgery went very well and I didn't need a stoma, nor a blood transfusion nor intensive care. My biopsy results followed. Stage 1, no chemo required, we'd caught it early. Early screening and early detection is key and I really hope the screening age is changed to younger than 55. I am 53.

Paul Binks

Grateful to have the cancer picked up and operated on early. Getting to grips with life with a stoma and getting out and doing normal things post chemo.

Thank you to Bowel Cancer UK for organising the on line stoma support group, the opportunity to share experiences and learn from each other, and ultimately the confidence it's given me to resume life as normal as possible.

Paul

Ian Steele

I received a routine bowel cancel screening kit in July 2021 and having used it returned it as instructed. I had no symptoms of any problems, so was surprised when I got the results which said I had to go for further test. I had a colonoscopy at hospital and that is when I was told that I had bowel cancer. I had an operation in October 2021 to remove the cancer. The operation was successful, but I now have a stoma. I am generally recovering well. The one thing that I have taken from the whole experience is DON’T IGNORE THE SCREENING TEST. I was lucky. The screening test did its job perfectly.

Louise Jones

My wonderful husband Phil was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in Jan 2005, we knew that this disease carried an increased risk of developing bowel cancer.
10 years on, he was feeling great and after an appointment with the doctor to see if he could reduce his meds he had a routine colonoscopy. The results indicated that he had early stages of bowel cancer, we were upbeat as we felt with it being early that something could be done. However after a PET scan he was found to have metastasis in the liver, we were devastated. With 3 children under 10 we didn’t know how we would cope.
Phil had 2 rounds of chemo but became so ill that he was hospitalised and 10 days later he died. He was diagnosed with bowel cancer in the April and died in the July. It was just so quick. He was only 41. The world is a much darker place without him.

Tess Grace

My daughter Millie was diagnosed with Bowel Cancer in December 2020, aged just 23. It was found during an unrelated operation, even though she’d complained of all the symptoms. She wasn’t tested for it as ‘it’s rare in someone her age’.
Millie passed away in October 2021, just 10 short months later.

Michael Williams

I had an operation for bowel cancer in 2008. The cancer was at the top of the colon so I could not be rejoined up. I have had a Stoma since then which has not restricted any activity I have attempted and I am now 86!!

Tessa Lovell

In August 2021 I went for a routine health check, having felt nothing but very slightly tired. Blood tests came back as severely anaemic and my wonderful GP ignored that national guidelines that stated for an anaemic 'young' woman (I'm 41), prescribe iron tablets and wait 6 months. She pushed for a colonoscopy and a large cancerous tumour was almost blocking my colon. She saved my life!
I had major surgery in Oct 2021 followed by fertility preservation, and am now in my final cycle of chemo. It's been a huge emotional rollercoaster, but I've been determined to stay positive, and celebrated my 350th parkrun along the way!
To anyone facing a diagnosis, my advice is take one baby step at a time. It's ok to cry and scream and shout when you need to, and it's also ok to keep laughing, keep smiling, keep fighting and keep loving life. The life ahead of you is worth EVERY little step walking to the loo for the first time or managing to eat in those early days.
I'm determined that we group together to educate everyone around bowel cancer in young people -- let's all KEEP TALKING.

Susan Harrison

Our son Mark died 6 months ago. He was diagnosed 14 months earlier with stage 4 bowel cancer age 36.
He was so strong and determined to get on with his life despite having chemo every 2 weeks and the physical and psychological effects he felt during the 14 months.
I reflect on the past 12 months and during April 2021 Mark raised £6000 for Bowel Cancer UK.
His brother is running the London Marathon in Mark’s memory for Bowel Cancer UK.
We miss him dearly everyday πŸ’šπŸ’™

David Nye

My mum sadly passed away from bowel cancer last year and being her full time carer, it hit me hard and had a huge impact. Not a day goes by where I don't think about or miss her, she taught me everything I know and now she's gone. If you've been affected by bowel cancer or lost a loved one or friend, there is help out there. Bowel cancer UK is an amazing charity, so let's beat bowel cancer together.

Michael Brown

I was diagnosed with an aggressive stage 3 bowel cancer in February 2019. Two rounds of chemotherapy, one round of chemo radiotherapy, a major op and a stoma bag reversal later, I’m thankfully on the mend. I’m clear of cancer, and while I will have checks for the next three years, I wanted to say that if you’ve been recently diagnosed, you CAN get through this with the help of the wonderful doctors and nurses in this country. God Bless

Genevieve Edwards

This afternoon, I recorded the first episode of our new #thisisbowelcancer podcast, where we talked about the importance of people knowing and acting on symptoms, and how important it is to be diagnosed quickly.

My two guests were an inspirational double-act: Rachel, diagnosed at 33 with stage 4 bowel cancer, is a passionate advocate on Instagram, raising vital awareness of the disease. And Harriet is a consultant colorectal nurse and advisor to Health Education England, and she's determined to improve services so that everyone, and particularly younger patients, are diagnosed more quickly.

We talked about how important it is to share stories to support others going through bowel cancer diagnosis and treatment.

I am so lucky, as Chief Executive of Bowel Cancer UK to be able to hear from inspiring people in our community every day. Clinicians, patients, volunteers, supporters, researchers, policy-makers and our own wonderful team. By telling your stories, you give comfort, offer friendship, and save lives. #thisisbowelcancer

Suzie Smith

Everyone with cancer has the right to ring a bell, make noise, look fabulous and celebrate every single milestone because what we are doing is BIG. I wore a sequin suit and bought my own bell to mark my final radiation session.

I’m Suzie, 32 and was diagnosed with bowel cancer in September 2021. After fertility treatment, 6 rounds of fortnightly chemotherapy and 25 rounds of daily radiation I’m now hopefully halfway through my battle.

After pretending for 18 long months that I wasn’t experiencing blood in my stools, rapidly changing bowel movements, extreme fatigue, depression, weight loss, working in my bed (because I couldn’t get of it) and a tear-soaked dinner with my best friend I finally saw my doctor and the rest has been my history.

My advice would be if you feel a change in your body or notice any symptoms, listen. Demand tests & answers regardless of your age - don't put up with feeling average because you deserve to be healthy!

& if you have been diagnosed, take one day at a time. Walk when you can, sleep if you have too. You've got this and when you don’t that okay too.

Ross Williams

I was approaching my 65th birthday last summer and in good health when I received a routine Bowel cancer screening request in the post. I very nearly ignored this test as I had no symptoms that anything was amiss.
However I did complete this test and it probably saved my life as I was advised to have a Colonoscopy. I was expecting this to be a routine examination but was very shocked to be told I had a cancer in the Colon.
This was devastating news to me as I was close to two friends who had passed away with this cancer. Things moved on quickly and I was admitted to Hospital in November for an operation to remove this cancer. I was extremely fortunate to have a stage one Cancer which was fully removed and no further treatment was necessary.
I had fantastic treatment throughout this process and am now returning to full health. I consider myself a very lucky person and cannot emphasize enough the importance of completing the screening tests and ignoring any Bowel cancer symptoms. These tests could save your life. Take care.

Nimisha Sharma

My incredible husband, Krunal, was a person who made the most of each moment in life with this smart sense of humour and ability to win hearts. He was hit with a shocking stage 4 bowel cancer diagnosis at the age of 35 and we were expecting our first baby at the same time.

Unfortunately, due to his age and other lifestyle factors, we felt his diagnosis was delayed and so was treatment and sadly, my husband passed away in December 2021, only four months after our baby girl was born.

There is evidence which says that bowel cancer is more aggressive in young adults with a limited prognosis. We want to raise awareness to make sure young people with advanced cancer get the help they need from early diagnosis. This ultimately saves lives.

As for me, I am focusing on sharing our story. Even though I can't begin to imagine a future without my soul mate, I can see a light at the end of the tunnel when I see our baby girl. She has the same cheeky smile as my husband. That's his legacy to the world, that's the hope for the future.

Ning Yu

I was diagnosed with bowel cancer in March 2020 at the age of 41. My diagnosis at my age was nasty. Compounded with all the other factors (COVID-19, endless aggressive divorce proceeding for domestic abuse, home schooling of two young children) my journey of fighting in the past two years has been extremely brutal.

Nevertheless, I am surviving into my two-year mark as a stage 4 cancer patient. Despite being in oncology research, I have been holding "knowing the bare minimum" attitude towards my own condition, so that I would not be put off by the scary statistics. However, I did seek psychological therapist help which has provided me valuable tools to cope with the stress and fear. I was introduced to Penny Brohn, through which I was connected with a wide range of resources including Bowel Cancer UK. They have been an immense help and uplifting to me. Being part of a new cancer community made me feel part of a big family. I hope my story will help anybody with similar experiences to seek early diagnosis and to cope with their treatment.

Gillian Brodie

Cancer always seemed to be something that just happened to other people, until 2014, when it happened to me…

Here I am, seven years later and still in remission. When I got my five-year all clear, I felt brave enough to post it on social media and I haven't really shut up about it since!

I'm eternally grateful for this bonus time. I didn't win a battle, I wasn't brave, I just did what I was told to do, got my head down and got through it with the help of a great clinical team, my amazing family and some really helpful and supportive friends. I'm now super aware of young people who haven't been as lucky as me, because I do see this as luck. Lucky that my tumour was rectal, therefore picked up from a sigmoidoscopy. Lucky that it hadn't metastasised. Lucky that I live in a country where healthcare is free at the point of access. Just lucky. Incredibly lucky. I hope to help raise awareness of bowel cancer in the under 50s through my upcoming blog and social media account @stillnotdeadjustyet where I will talk about life with and after cancer.

Claire Coughlan

For us at Bowel Cancer UK April is all about raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of bowel cancer. The team spirit and collective will to get ahead of this disease is inspiring.

As a Consultant Nurse in Bowel Cancer I would make time for raising awareness in an at times, overwhelming schedule. I've tried road shows, stands, newspaper interviews and articles but the most powerful impact for me is the memory of one man. I took part in a road show, on a cold April day. We went from town to town talking to people, about bowel cancer.

Forward 6 weeks and I'm in my clinic supporting a man who is being told he has rectal cancer. As he leaves he thanks me, he met me in a South London shopping centre with a leaflet and a smile, he tells me without both those things he would never have gone to see his doctor. His treatment was curative. No matter how small the act the impact can be huge, so this month I shall get out there and do the same, a big difference is always our aim but a big difference can start with a small act.

Ronald Morgan

7 years ago I was told I had stage 4 cancer and to go home and get my affairs in order. I am a firm believer in positivity and always seeing that each day you have a choice you can make a positive or a negative one. There is always a silver lining, the path we choose must be the one of hope. In the last seven years I have written 6 books, 3 of which have been published. I have climbed to the Tigers nest in Bhutan and many summits in the U.K. totalling the height of Everest. Yes chemo has been tough and operations have needed to be recovered from but life can still be lived, I am dancing with cancer which makes me appreciate all the wonderful people around me and joys in this world. Every day is precious please live yours to the full!

Emma Barber

Emotional Rollercoaster.

One minute I was up, and the next I was down. I couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel, but now I'm a year on and I'm cancer free I have a permanent Colostomy and I wouldn't be with out it it's made me more Confident than I ever was before.

Just keep telling yourself, I CAN DO THIS.

#THISISBOWELCANCER

Rachel Reed

I was diagnosed in November 2018 at 33 years old (stage 4 bowel cancer) which came as a shock as I was young fit and healthy. At the time of diagnosis I did not believe I had any symptoms but this was due to my lack of knowledge and awareness of bowel cancer. Due to my age getting a diagnosis was a struggle and I was misdiagnosed with an Ovarian Cyst and Pelvic Inflammatory disease. I also treated my ongoing stomach pains, changes in my bowels by changing my diet and taking buscopan. I blamed many of my symptoms on my biological medication I was taking for my psoriasis. I was finally referred for a colonoscopy by my dermatologist and my cancer was finally found.
Within 2 weeks of diagnosis I had life changing surgery and 6 months of chemotherapy. I then had a reoccurrance in my lung and had further surgery and chemotherapy in 2019. I finished treatment in April 2020. Since 2020 I have had several scans which show no evidence of disease.
I have set up an Instagram page @rachyreedy to help spread awareness of bowel cancer in young people and to help save young lives.
#nevertooyoung

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