I will always be truly grateful for the fact that Nick Lee from the Jodi Lee Foundation came to speak to my workplace as part of the Workplace Prevention Program. Sure, I had heard about screening for bowel cancer, but it was only something that your parents had to do, right? As a 21 year old, I suppose I was skeptical about the need for me to take the test. However, my employer was adamant that if we took one of the screening kits home, we had to use it.
After hearing Nick speak about his wife Jodi, it made me think I should do it just in case, so I took the test just as a precaution. Sure enough, my test came back positive for blood in my stool, so I booked an appointment with my GP. He reluctantly referred me to a specialist, who advised me that I needed a colonoscopy to explore the cause of the bleeding. At every step I was told it was very unlikely they would find anything, especially being so young and with no family history of bowel cancer.
When I awoke from my colonoscopy I was told they removed a number of polyps, which was surprising. A few days later the doctor called to tell me about half of the polyps were nothing to worry about, however the other half, had they not been detected early, were likely to become cancerous in the future.
I was told I would need another colonoscopy within the year to remove the remaining polyps that were too small to take out at the time. I was also told I would need a colonoscopy every two to three years after that to keep any eye on everything.
I am extremely fortunate to be educated about bowel cancer and screening. I really want to stress how important it is to catch it early … it could save your life. Just because you’re young doesn’t mean you can’t get bowel cancer. I’m one of the youngest in my workplace, yet I was the one who really needed the test. There is no way, but for Nick coming to talk to us, that I would have ever have taken it. I’m just very lucky.