Real life stories can provide hope and reassurance to patients and their families who may be going through a difficult time, and can also encourage others to get any symptoms checked out with their GP or take part in the screening they’d been putting off. Bowel cancer is one of the most treatable cancer’s with a full recovery rate of over 75% if caught early, so it’s important share and read stories of others going through the same journey.
Share your story
If you have a personal experience with bowel cancer and would be happy to your share your story, we would be delighted to hear from you. Please email us here.
*NOTE: Please also feel free to join our patients and family closed Facebook group to immediately connect with other bowel cancer patients who can help answer your questions and provide you with support.
Patrick Loloma Afeaki was diagnosed early, after his family encouraged him to have a colonoscopy. It was August 2018 and he was 66. Surgery removed Patrick’s cancer and he had three to four months of chemotherapy as a precaution.
A 2018 study in the PIPER Project found a “significantly worse” risk of death for Pacific patients with bowel cancer, and that Māori were also at increased risk.
Read Patrick’s story here.
Alan’s transition from bowel cancer sufferer to cancer survivor wasn’t just due to the skilled surgery from Dr Ansell but also to the fabulous service from his Oncology team at Tauranga Hospital and the Kathleen Kilgour Centre.
He also could never have made it through without the enduring support and encouragement of his wife Ali who was ‘an absolute brick through it all’.
Read Alan’s story here.
In February 2015 I was at the doctors with my daughter, on the way out, literally half way out the door, I mentioned that I had been suffering from quite (no in reality very severe – think take your breath away) lower abdominal cramps.
I soon found out that I had stage 4 bowel cancer that had metastasised to my liver and lung.
Read Karen’s story here.
Andrew had always been pretty healthy and when he turned 45, he thought he’d better go and get a warrant of fitness. Andrew had all the normal tests. No dramas. He mentioned that he had one instance of passing a small amount of blood and his GP said, “it’s probably nothing but let’s send you for a colonoscopy”.
The doctor literally saved Andrew’s life.
Read Andrew’s story here.
Nothing could prepare Aaron for the journey that he has taken over the last 18 months.
A fit, healthy and active person, Aaron never had sick days and never went to the doctor. As the saying goes, you never think it will happen to you. Once you have your health taken from you, you realise it’s importance.
Read Aaron’s story here.
Sarah had noticed blood intermittently for about three weeks before going to the doctor.
After her diagnosis, she learnt about the symptoms of bowel cancer, and realised that she actually been experiencing symptoms for about two years
Read Sarah’s story here.
The C Word comes in many forms, but manifests itself most shockingly in real life not on film, music or TV.
Jason aged 45 with 2 young kids and running 15km a week he never thought he was a candidate. But bubbles burst and this one blew big time.
Read Jason’s story here.
My name is Anita, I’m 38 and I have survived cancer twice.
I found out at 15 that I was a carrier for the Lynch Syndrome MSH2 gene, after my nana died of bowel cancer and my mother was also diagnosed when I was 12.
Read Anita’s story here.
Brad was a fit and healthy, not quite middle aged, guy. Brad would have probably managed to ignore his symptoms in a manly fashion for longer, except a very good friend of the same age had died from bowel cancer a year earlier so his awareness was raised.
Read Brad’s story here.
Hi I’m Britt, I’m 31 and I found out in the middle of December 2017 I have stage 4 bowel cancer.
Unfortunately because of the length of time it has been left to grow it as spread to my lungs and is in lymph nodes around the body.
Read Britt’s story here.
Life was trucking along beautifully in August 2015. Chelsea had established her own business, her children were moving out of the challenging infant stage.
She was 39, fit, healthy and bullet-proof, or so she thought.
Read Chelsea’s story here.
Kathy was active and health conscious, and had turned to Dr Google when she thought her symptoms were down to food intolerances.
Kathy wishes there was more awareness of how bowel cancer affects younger people, both male and female.
Read Kathy’s story here.
Jonny had always been fit and healthy. He ate well, exercises, and looks after himself.
Jonny then got stomach cramps. A mate at work had just had stomach cramps and been to the doctor, they lasted a couple of weeks and he had the all clear so Jonny assumed that he was experiencing the same bug etc. The cramps fluctuated in intensity over a period. After realising that he had been having the cramps for 3 months he went to the doctor.
Read Jonny’s story here.
Working in construction and putting in long hours I put a lot of my symptoms down to the nature of my occupation. I didn’t think much of it until one day I realised having two young children aged 5 and 3 years old, I owed it to them and my wife to get my health in order.
I went to the GP requesting a full check-up and specially requested a Bowel Screening Kit. The test came back positive.
Read Solon’s story here.
Anna was fit and healthy and didn’t think she fitted the profile of a bowel cancer patient.
Instead, Anna had all of the symptoms including very bad stomach cramps, blood in her stools, low iron, loss of appetite and fatigue.
Read Anna’s story here.
Despite displaying all of the symptoms of bowel cancer, I was put in the box of “young, fit and healthy”. I was young and fit, but I wasn’t healthy.
Blood and stool tests were not done. Instead I was put on a non-urgent colonoscopy wait-list under public care and told to eat more fibre and take peppermint tea.
Read Jenny’s story here.
Anaru had irritable bowel-type symptoms for years, and had some bleeding for around three months.
It is a big thing for a Māori male to go to the doc about something so personal, and Araru is grateful that his GP had multiple tests taken ASAP – that is the best thing he could have done.
Read Anaru’s story here.
John had turned 67, retired and was happily setting up a small part time financial advisory service.
After mentioning to his GP that he was seeing some pink spotting intermittently, his GP referred him to a colonoscopy. On that fateful day, John and his wife had the new’s broken to them, that he had bowel cancer.
Read John’s story here.
Nell had experienced some family stress almost 5 years ago, so she decided to visit her GP for a check.
Her GP told Nell that she was anaemic so she just told him to give her some iron tablets – instead Nell’s GP gave her a stool test. One stool came back with blood on it, so her GP made an appointment with a specialist.
Read Nell’s story here.
Stefan was 47 when he was diagnosed with stage 3 bowel cancer. He wasn’t in any pain. In fact the only symptoms that he had was sporadic blood showing up in his poop and some constipation and cramps.
Nothing really – or so he thought.
Read Stefan’s story here.
In April 2016 Renee underwent surgery to remove a tumour from her bowel. She was 38 years old and had no symptoms, other than an episode of pain in her lower left abdominal/pelvic area.
Bowel cancer was something that was not on her radar.
Read Renee’s story here.
Hi my name is Jewel Brown and last year at the age of 30 I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Bowel Cancer.
Looking back I had had symptoms of diarrhoea and cramps for about 6-7 years with stomach cramps that were unbearable at times.
My doctors diagnosed me with IBS and I was prescribed with diarrhoea medication and told to go on a fodmap diet.
Read Jewel’s story here.
Kia Ora my name is Suzanne and I was diagnosed with Bowel Cancer in October 2006 when I was 46.
They say hindsight is a great thing and that is true. I now realise I was showing signs something was not right back in January 06. I realised something was wrong about July 06.
Read Suzanne’s story here
Peter is 62, living in Taranaki. After recently being diagnosed with Mitochondrial Myopathy (CPEO), Peter decided to get a check-up with his GP to see if he should cancel his life insurances. His only symptom of Bowel Cancer was tiredness, which he put down to his CPEO
Read Peter’s story here…
Last year, Fiona Cullen received the devastating news that she had bowel cancer, one of the deadliest and most common forms of the disease.
Yet, being in her late 30s, receiving a much-needed colonoscopy, resulted in a drawn-out process and delays that made international news headlines.
Now a mum to one-year-old Morgan, she’s fighting to be there for each and every precious moment.
Read Fiona’s story .
Hear Nadine’s Story
Diagnosed at 45, Nadine tells her story of the events and decision making which shaped her bowel cancer experience and stresses the importance of sharing.
Hear Ron’s Story
67 year old Ron was diagnosed with bowel cancer at 50 and had no symptoms despite a family history. Ron shares his story of diagnosis and recovery.
Hear Ian’s Story
At just 37 years old, Ian was diagnosed with bowel cancer having been symptomatic for 12 months before being diagnosed. Ian shares his surgery and chemotherapy experiences and encourages others to seek help early from their GP if they have…
Hear Bart’s Story
Bart’s is an encouraging story of the benefits of acting on the first signs of bowel cancer. Bart has since been diagnosed with Lynch’s Syndrome.
Dr Paddy Bhula, GP Advice – Act early on symptoms
With a wealth of 20 years expertise in general practice Paddy describes bowel cancer symptoms and urges us to see our GP to discuss such symptoms without fear or embarrassment.
Remembering Jared Noel
It is with deep sadness that we farewell Dr Jared Noel who passed away in October 2014 at only 33 years of age after a long battle with bowel cancer. Rest in Peace Jared.