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