Age at diagnosis: 36
Symptoms: Irritable bowel / food intolerance type symptoms, very changeable bowel motions, bloating and general not ‘feeling right’, some intermittent blood in stools
Duration of symptoms: Several years
Diagnosis: Stage 3 rectal cancer
Treatments: 6 weeks chemotherapy and radiotherapy, surgery: tumour removal and ileostomy placed, then ileostomy reversal, chemotherapy, hernia repair surgery a year after treatment.
My story: I was active and health conscious, and I turned to Dr Google when I thought my symptoms were down to food intolerances. I wish there was more awareness of how bowel cancer affects younger people, both male and female.
I’m so grateful to my GP who decided to investigate some of my concerns further and do some simple tests in surgery that alerted her that there was something more serious going on.