SUN’S out… bums out!
It’s that time of the year again, Wimbledon is nearly here and summer has official started.
And I’m celebrating for two reasons.
Firstly, I bloody love tennis.
But secondly, and much more importantly… I’ve had some good news, which means I can actually enjoy it.
Three tumours down… one to go
I can’t really believe I am writing this because for the last six months I have been plagued by fear, worrying that every ache or niggle is MORE cancer growing inside me.
Don’t get me wrong, I am still scared sh*tless, but scans this week have shown I can breathe for a bit.
Over the last few months I’ve had operations, hardcore drug treatment and CyberKnife to try and blast the pesky tumours in my liver and stop any new ones appearing.
And it’s working!
Catching this disease early really DOES make a difference, it’s curable if you catch it when it’s stage 1 or 2
Scans showed we’re three tumours down (fingers crossed) and one to go.
But, the biggest relief for me is that no new disease has cropped up.
No, I’m not cancer free and yes I am still facing more and more treatment, but this is what managing the disease looks like.
It’s the best I can hope for, and really is a reason to celebrate.
It’s another positive milestone, not bad for someone who really shouldn’t still be alive.
‘You cannot be serious?’
When my doctor broke the good news, I couldn’t help but channel my inner John McEnroe, “you cannot be serious?”.
Well he was! And now I am too.
One of the most important things when it comes to bowel cancer is early diagnosis.
Catching this disease early really DOES make a difference, it’s curable if you catch it when it’s stage 1 or 2 – 97 per cent live for five years or more.
But get to stage 4 like me and that figure plummets to just seven per cent.
So if that’s not enough to make you go check your poo for the tell-tale signs, these Wimbledon-based facts might help:
- Centre Court seats around 15,000 people – that’s just 1,000 shy of the 16,000 people who die of bowel cancer every year in the UK.
- the tournament lasts for 14 days – in that time around 1,700 people will be told they have bowel cancer
- by the time the tournament ends around 600 people will have died from the disease
- apparently 44,500 baseball hats are sold at the tournament each year – the same as the number of people diagnosed with bowel cancer every year
- around 30,000 bottles of Champagne are sold at Wimbledon each year – that’s how many people will survive each year
- Wimbledon’s longest ever match, John Isner vs Nicolas Mahut in 2010 lasted 11 hours and five minutes – 22 people lost their lives to bowel cancer during that time
Learn the signs, it might save your life
So, how can you lower your chances of dying from bowel cancer?
Wise up to the signs you might have the disease. Learn what to watch out for, and don’t be embarrassed – go to see your GP if you think you might be displaying the warning signs.
Most of the time it will probably be something much less serious, but it’s not worth taking the risk.
The sooner you pick it up, the quicker you can start treatment and the more likely it is to work.
The five red-flag signs you need to know are:
- bleeding from your back passage, or noticing blood in your poo
- a change to your normal toilet habits – going more often for example
- pain or lump in your tummy
- extreme tiredness
- losing weight
Other signs include:
- gripping pains in your tummy
- feeling bloated
- constipation and being unable to pass wind
- being sick
- feeling like you need to strain – like doing a number two – but after you’ve been to the loo
THINGS CANCER MADE ME SAY
So, as we all enjoy the official start of the British summer with Wimbledon, I hope we can all vow to check ourselves for the signs of bowel cancer once a month.
Like you check your boobs and balls, let’s make checking your poo and guts normal too.
Yes it’s a bit grim to talk about, but it could save your life.
In the words of McEnroe, “Are you serious?”