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The bottom line

This is me and my mate Anna’s mum, at Anna and Dan’s wedding, just under two years ago. I wrote about their wedding here as last February Dan died from an aggressive brain tumour. In the autumn Anna’s mum was diagnosed with Bowel Cancer, she had surgery to remove some of her colon and that was followed by  a course of chemotherapy. Over the past couple weeks her health deteriorated and she died yesterday afternoon.

Today I went to see Anna, to drink coffee and chat. Her Dad was there when I got there and he was devastated, he had a  look of such loss in his eyes. Anna and I chatted for hours, we visited Dan’s grave and talked some more. Anna is left wondering whether her mum covered up her illness in the early days, to support Anna and Dan. I’m not sure she’ll ever know if she did, but it’s heart breaking to know that if caught early enough nearly 90% of people with Bowel Cancer will go on to live for another five years, and a complete cure is usually possible (NHS Choices).

The bottom line is that most people don’t like talking about cancer….and even less people like talking about their bums! The symptoms are as follows:

  • Bleeding from the bottom
  • A change in your bowel habit lasting more than 3 weeks
  • Abdominal pain especially if severe
  • A lump in your tummy
  • Weight loss and tiredness

You can find stacks of information on the Beating Bowel Cancer website and there’s a film you can watch too:

Please spread the word. There’s a national screening programme for over 60s in England and Wales, a similar programme in Scotland and Northern Ireland. I’m sure such screening programmes are available elsewhere too. Please encourage your friends and relatives to take part in screening, the odds are extremely good if caught early enough.

The bottom line is you’d be foolish not to….and it could save your life.

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