'I had bowel cancer at 28'

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Living with bowel cancer

Living with bowel cancer

It might sound odd, but bowel cancer's actually one of the better cancers to get in terms of survival rates. As long as it's caught early, it's very treatable. I was relatively young when I was diagnosed with bowel cancer, at only 28. I'd been having bad stomach aches for around six months, and I thought I could feel a lump on the left side of my tummy.

My doctor thought it was IBS, and gave me peppermint oil. An ultrasound showed nothing. I kept going back, and eventually he sent me for an MRI scan. Straight away, they told me I had a blockage in my bowel, which they were pretty sure was a cancerous tumour. I was absolutely shocked.

I had surgery for my bowel cancer the following week, and doctors thought they'd removed the entire tumour. Unfortunately, two years later it became obvious they hadn't. This time round I noticed blood in my stools and, sure enough, the cancer was back. I had surgery and chemotherapy. Fortunately bowel cancer treatments have improved so much in recent years, it wasn't too horrendous. I even had my chemo at home, carrying the solution round in a sort of bumbag.

Today, I've been in remission for two years and feel much better. I eat a really healthy diet, high in fibre with lots of fruit, vegetables and water. I avoid red meat, as that's so hard to digest.

Doctors don't really know why I got bowel cancer, but it shows you can get it at any age. I'd urge anyone who's worried to go to their GP, or ring the bowel cancer advisory line. Don't be embarrassed, doctors really have seen it all before!
Flora Skeates, 32, London

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More help and advice

- For more detailed help info and support, visit Bowel Cancer UK or call 0800 8 40 35 40

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Hi I just wanted to post this as an encouragement to people who suspect they may need a colonoscopy but are put off, either because they fear the procedure, or they fear what might be found. I am in my late 20s and started having problems 8 months ago - lots of wind, mucus, and rushing to the nearest toilet about 5 - 8 times per day. Most of the time there was no blood but on a few occasions there definitely was, mixed with the mucus. Increasingly, I felt I hadn't finished and would be back on the toilet within half an hour of having got off. So what did I do? I worried and worried. I looked up symptoms on the internet and convinced myself I was going to die and there was nothing that could be done. Anyway, after seeing a doctor I was recommended for a colonoscopy. The prep was nothing. Sure, it doesn't taste very nice but really it's no big deal. I just stayed at home and read a good book all day - without any guilt because I was 'sick'! The procedure was nothing. They gave me an IV sedative and I chattered away to the nurse while the two consultants looked around. In the end they spotted a 2mm polyp which is currently being biopsied. The chances of a polyp that small being cancerous are about 1:500 so I'm not worrying about the results. One in five hundred? Life is actually too short. IN CONCLUSION: - I thought I had ALL the symptoms of bowel cancer and was sure they would find it. I even told the consultant before they started I was sure they would find it. As it turns out I probably don't (crossing my fingers as I type this...) - Getting checked out has solved all my worries and I feel about 1,000 times better. - The prep was fine and the procedure was fine. It's all really a piece of cake. SO... If you're worried about your bowel symptoms, DON'T LOOK THINGS UP ON GOOGLE THEN FRET AS MOST LIKELY THINGS ARE FINE, BUT GET THE COLONOSCOPY DONE TO PUT YOUR MIND AT REST! Best of luck to everyone on this site MPH

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