Bowel Cancer Stories


I was diagnosed with Bowel cancer in June 2017. I was 54 and the treatment team said that it was between stage 2 and stage 3.

I’ve had stomach issues for most of my life and have learned through experience not to eat fatty foods or full fat dairy.


My name is Martin and I’m a happily married father of three and grandfather of one, working as a General Manager in the building industry. I want people to hear my story so that they understand that bowel cancer can happen to anyone at any time.

I was sent the bowel screen test kit in 2006. I took the test and the results came back negative. In mid-April 2011, I noticed blood in my stools and thankfully I acted immediately. I am normally a procrastinator, but in this instance I acted swiftly. I saw my GP straightaway and was referred to a gastroenterologist. I had a colonoscopy in June and was diagnosed with stage 2 bowel cancer, which had gone into the bowel wall. I had often wondered how I would react if ever I was told of such a problem. I was actually very calm and I guess my practical nature just said….ok, that’s the prognosis, now how do we deal with it? That’s exactly what I said to the doctor.


Unlike many people, I had severe symptoms for some time before I got my diagnosis. For four weeks during the time of seeing my doctor and being diagnosed I had very bad stomach pains and was completely unable to eat. 

My condition continued to deteriorate all the time – the stomach pain came and went, becoming sharper and more intense as time passed, and I was generally very sick. By the end of this 4 week period, I was unable to walk.
During this time I saw four GPs, each of whom had a different opinion about what was wrong with me and even when I was eventually hospitalised the bowel cancer wasn’t picked up.

We went through five extremely painful years.

They were especially hard for my strong, brave and beautiful mother.

She was diagnosed with stage 4 rectal cancer and it was very aggressive.


When I was diagnosed with bowel cancer on 23 June 2011, I didn’t even ask what stage the cancer was at – I just wanted to know what I had to do to fight it.

My initial symptoms were rectal bleeding, a change of bowel habit and stomach pain. Eighteen months prior, I had started bleeding and had a colonoscopy which showed nothing. The last colonoscopy five years prior to that had showed a polyp and an unknown growth, neither of which were diagnosed as a cancer. There is no family history of bowel cancer on either side of my family either.

Page 39 of 61