Tuesday, 26 April 2016

April is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month

April is bowel cancer awareness month. Before my mother was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2012 I knew absolutely nothing about it, and in fact I would have to admit to have never having heard of it. Cancer to me meant lung cancer. That all seems like a lifetime ago now as the journey with Mum's cancer battle continues into its 5th year. I must add that I am no expert on bowel cancer beyond knowing the basic facts, but that shouldn't stop anyone like me helping to raise awareness.

The original idea when I published my first charity book, Beating Bowel Cancer, in 2012 was to raise as much funds as I could for Beating Bowel Cancer. It was only really once the book was published did I begin to realise the importance of raising awareness too. I could so easily have been one of those many people who gets bowel cancer going undetected until it is too late. I literally would not have had a clue that I might have cancer or indeed what I should do... The fact is that bowel cancer, the UK's second highest cancer killer, is also one of the most treatable if caught early.

The above picture shows the main symptoms associated with bowel cancer, and how important it is to see your GP if the symptoms persist. There are still too many instances of late diagnosis, and sadly misdiagnosis. Work still needs to be on all fronts to reduce the amount of people lost to this awful disease.

Mum is still right in the middle of her battle with secondary cancer from the original bowel cancer. She was successfully operated upon in 2012 to remove a section of her bowel. Unfortunately a cancerous nodule had appeared on her left lung and this secondary cancer has been a constant that she has been battling for the last four years. She has had 4 lung operations to remove nodules, the most recent being in March when the lower lob of left lung was removed. Last November she had a seizure, and two small tumours were discovered on her brain. She had "Cyberknife" treatment in January. In the last few weeks her brain has began to swell again, which has affected her speech and she lost the feeling in her fingers which caused a hospital visit last week. She is now waiting for an appointment to have an MRI scan on her brain to see exactly what is going on. Throughout the 4 years she has remained incredibly positive and even at 79 the first thing she always aims to do following treatment is to get back on her horse as soon as possible.

So I continue to sell books to raise funds for Beating Bowel Cancer. The Lives & Times book has now raised over £1300 and is doing its part to help raise awareness. The more people that buy a copy and talk about bowel cancer might just increase the chances of preventing perhaps just one person from getting a late diagnosis, and that has to be worth all the effort.

To buy a copy of the Lives & Times book click here. All proceeds raised are donated to Beating Bowel Cancer.

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