Mary, Geraldton

Bowel cancer champion

Please do not hesitate seeking medical help at the first sign of bowel irregularities.

Mary’s story

At age 64, Mary had a lovely family life and was enjoying activities with the Geraldton seniors action group. She had noticed some bowl irregularities so made an appointment to see her GP. Mary’s GP referred her to a specialist who booked her in for a colonoscopy. There was a three month waiting period for the procedure and during this time Mary’s bowel movements returned to normal so she cancelled the procedure.

Eighteen months later whilst on holiday, Mary experienced rectal bleeding. She saw her GP two weeks later when she was home in Geraldton and again was referred to see a specialist. Following a few tests, Mary was diagnosed with bowel cancer. The specialist advised that without surgery and with radiation and chemotherapy along, she would have three months left to live.

Mary then underwent a combined treatment of chemotherapy and radiation for 7 weeks, then surgery, and 4 months of chemotherapy post surgery. As a result of Mary’s treatment, she now has a colostomy bag.

Mary’s advice

‘Please do not hesitate seeking medical help at the first sign of bowel irregularities’.

‘Eat healthy and exercise’.

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Bowel cancer screening

Bowel cancer screening kits are designed for people who don’t have any noticeable symptoms of bowel cancer.

If you don’t have any bowel cancer symptoms and you’re eligible, it is recommended you participate in the free National Bowel Cancer Screening Program for people aged 50-74.

If you do have possible bowel cancer symptoms, it’s recommend you see your doctor, clinic nurse or health worker without delay.

Remember, the earlier cancer is found, the better your chances of survival. So, make sure you participate in free screening at every opportunity and see your doctor if you notice any unusual symptoms.