Us men rarely go to doctors, let alone get our proper checks. But I recommend to all other men to please listen to your doctor and do exactly what they tell you. Put your faith and trust in them and you will be managed appropriately.
I was diagnosed with Bowel Cancer in 2011. Passing blood made me go to my GP to have a check-up. My GP suggested doing a Digital Rectal Examination and having a colonoscopy.
I was only 26 when I went to my doctor concerned about changes in my bowel habits and feeling very tired. My doctor put it down to stress which frustrated me because I felt I wasn’t being listened to.
I went to the ED and remember crying saying, “I know there is something wrong with me”. Coming from a medical background (registered nurse) I demanded to speak with a gastro specialist. The doctor who came along spoke and listened to me as human being, he was empathetic and asked the right questions. He sent me for an X-ray as he suspected I might have Crohn’s disease.
In 2000 I was diagnosed with pneumonia. While I was in hospital the specialist did a cancer marker test which came back really high. However the subsequent colonoscopy was not very clear as the prep had not been very effective.
In September 2011 I underwent a second colonoscopy as I was experiencing continual bad diarrhoea. During the procedure a carcinoid tumour was discovered.
My mum was in her mid to late 40s when she was diagnosed with bowel cancer. She died at the age of 50, when I was 27, 11 years ago this year.
Mum had experienced symptoms for some time, starting with bowel upsets, stomach pain and changes in her bowel habits. The doctors suggested it was gastro, then Irritable Bowel Syndrome - you name it, they suggested it. When I look back it felt as though they were fobbing her off. They never suggested looking into what was causing the problems.