Joanne’s Story

“I was diagnosed with Bowel cancer in February 2024. I had no symptons and was fit and I thought. My annual bloods were done in January showing everything was good.

If I had not done the FIT test in January I would not have realized I had cancer.
Within 2 months of being diagnosed my sigmoid/rectal cancer was removed and because it was picked up early the cancer had not spread and I have no further treatment.

Thanks to the FIT system I was managed and treated very quickly. I find it hard to believe that over half of these kits are thrown away…come on NZ this test is free and could save your life! What was the experience around being diagnosed?
Being diagnosed came as a complete surprise…I was given an indication that it was probably cancer….so of course I was hopeful that it wasn’t.

I was very lucky to be picked up early and was only stage 1. 2 years earlier my bowel screening was clear. 1 week before learning of test results all my blood tests showed no signs of distress in my body.
Where are you now on your bowel cancer journey/recovery?

I am fortunate not to have an illeistomy bag even though my rectum and sigmoid were removed.

I now have to navigate a new digestive system and live with LARS (Lower Anterior Resection Syndrome)…which causes incontinence in your bowels.

Yes Bowel Cancer NZ have given me fuel vouchers and a referral to Physiotherapy.

How has bowel cancer impacted you and your family’s life?

I have had to give up my job as it is quite physical and being incontinent makes life tricky. Hopefully this will improve in time as my body learns to get a new rhythm.

Bowel cancer can be silent….I had no symptons and am very thankful to Bowel Cancer NZ for the Bowel screening program , which was able to pick up the cancer at an early stage. “