Bowel cancer is not just an old person’s disease. I was just 31 years old with an amazing husband and beautiful baby girl when I was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer.
A few weeks after our daughter’s arrival, my tummy began to swell with fluid. I was told that it was nothing major, just that my abdominal muscles had separated during pregnancy. The swelling continued and thinking it was complications from my c-section, I took myself to emergency where the fluid was drained. Thinking I was too young for cancer and with no family history, I was discharged after a week of tests with no diagnosis.
A few days later, I was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer that was inoperable. Without chemotherapy I was told I only had 6 months to live, and even with a good response to treatment I could only expect 2 years. I didn’t come with an expiration date and am hoping for more than this!
As a young woman, I am bombarded with messages to get regular pap smears and breast checks but there is no mention of screening for bowel cancer until we hit 50. Women need to take care of their boobs, bits and bums too!