Luke’s Story

Luke Johnson was diagnosed with stage IV bowel cancer just one week after his 32nd birthday.

Luke had been suffering from mild stomach cramps for a few weeks, so he booked into his GP. He was sent for a CT scan which picked up some abnormalities near his appendix, so the doctors thought Luke had appendicitis.

He was quickly booked into surgery to remove his appendix but the surgeon noticed that actually, Luke’s appendix was fine, however other irregular nodules were found that came back cancerous. Luke went in for more tests and soon after was told the devastating news: he had a tumour that was nearly fully blocking his large intestine and it had spread to his peritoneum.

Luke underwent intense chemotherapy for 6 months followed by major surgery in December 2023 to remove two thirds of his bowel and cut out the peritoneal lining.

During that time he and his wife decided to start a family and it was some wonderful news amongst all the tragedy when Tegan became pregnant.

After the surgery, there was hope that Luke might be in the clear, but sadly he still didn’t feel well. In February 2024 he suffered a full bowel obstruction, he couldn’t eat or go to the toilet. More scans and tests were done, and Luke was told his cancer was already back, and the tumours were pressing against his bowel.

Treatment commenced one again which this time included immunotherapy via IV drip once a fortnight and daily chemo tablets. Initially these treatments had a good response and scans showed everything was dormant. With a baby due in early June, this was incredibly hopeful news for Luke and Tegan.

But sadly, just before their baby daughter was born, Luke had another scan which showed the cancer was growing again. The doctors have told Luke his cancer is no longer curable and he only has months to live.

Luke and Tegan’s baby girl Willow came into the world on the 8th June, and has been a shining light in their lives. Luke does everything he can to remain positive and becoming a father has given him a renewed sense of purpose and so much joy.

Luke is also passionate about spreading the message that bowel cancer is not just an old person’s disease. He’s been speaking at local football clubs in Victoria to raise awareness for bowel cancer and encourage others to get checked and be vigilant.