Bowel cancer is more common in older people, but more than 2,500 people under the age of 50 are diagnosed each year in the UK.
Nick Short knew nothing about bowel cancer until he was rushed to hospital aged just 44 after bleeding from his bottom.
A colonoscopy shortly afterwards revealed he had more than 100 polyps in his colon, some of which had become cancerous.
He was diagnosed with stage 3 colorectal cancer. He had five weeks of chemo, five weeks of radiotherapy and surgery, but is now recovering.
“I never knew much about bowel cancer,” he says. “I definitely thought it was an older person’s disease.”
Nick struggled to come to terms with his diagnosis. “I live on my own but my friends and doctors really helped me.
“I didn’t find any support groups for people my age but I’ve since discovered the Beating Bowel Cancer forum – there is a lot of support on there.
“My advice would be to take all the help you can get. Talking about it worked for me, it’s not good to bottle things up.
“The fear of cancer coming back causes me a lot of problems so I’m now on anti-depressants and have counselling starting soon.”
If you need help or support with a bowel cancer diagnosis visit our website www.beatingbowelcancer.org for information about our nurse helpline or online forum.