Janet, aged 63
“My screening kit arrived just after my 60th birthday. I had no symptoms at all; I was healthy, ate a reasonably good diet, didn’t smoke, drank only the odd glass of wine and walked miles with my dog. How could I have cancer? However, I returned the kit and was surprised to receive a letter saying that an abnormal result had been detected. A further kit proved normal, but the third kit that they sent just to be sure was abnormal again, so I was referred to a hospital and offered a colonoscopy. Two polyps were discovered in my descending colon, one of which appeared cancerous. A CT scan was arranged for about ten days later and I was given the results about a week after that. I was stunned to find I had bowel cancer, couldn’t really think straight and just left the choice of treatment up to the experts.
I was offered laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery for a left hemicolectomy. The operation was straightforward, the offending section of colon was removed and I did not need a stoma. It went so well that I was allowed to go home a day earlier than planned. I was diagnosed with early stage 1 cancer, so did not need any chemotherapy. I think I made such a speedy recovery because the cancer was caught so early and I was healthy prior to surgery. My family have been very supportive and I have tried to keep in a positive frame of mind. I always believed that the cancer would be removed and I would be OK.
I am now three years on from my diagnosis and have had regular blood tests, MRI scans & CT scans. About six months ago the consultant announced that I was now considered cured and we celebrated with a Mediterranean cruise! I will certainly be making use of my next bowel cancer screening kit though.”