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“Get tested” says bowel cancer survivor

“Get tested” says bowel cancer survivor

Date of release: 20 April 2023

Latest News: Bowel Cancer Survivor - Andrew Griffiths
Andrew Griffiths

A bowel cancer survivor at The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust (RWT) has urged people to carry out bowel cancer screening when called for as it “most definitely saved his life."

Andrew Griffiths, 68, received a free NHS bowel cancer screening kit through the post in January 2022 and if it wasn’t for this, things could have been different now – especially after experiencing no symptoms.

Bowel Cancer Screening is available to those who are between 60-74 years old. The programme is expanding gradually to make it available for everyone aged 50 to 59 years. This is happening gradually over four years and began in April 2021.

After the stool sample spotting blood and a colonoscopy, the doctor also found a lump in his lung, which luckily was benign. Once his mind was put to ease regarding his lung, Andrew then had the cancerous growth removed from his bowel not long after his diagnosis.

“Every day I wake up and just take a moment to realise how lucky I really am. If I didn’t do the screening check, I could be very poorly. Now, I’m back to working as a part-time delivery driver, feeling very healthy. Commented Andrew.

“The team at New Cross Hospital are amazing, wonderful people and the NHS most definitely saved my life.”

Andrew, from Wolverhampton, cried when he was given the diagnosis as it came as a “huge shock” to him, especially with having none of the common symptoms. This is why Andrew is here today to tell the story because he didn’t ignore the screening test and it was done within two minutes.

Bowel cancer is the UK’s second biggest cancer killer with one person being diagnosed every 15 minutes in the UK – that’s nearly 43,000 each year. Bowel Cancer Awareness Month is recognised annually to raise awareness as it is easier to treat, if diagnosed early.

The symptoms include:
  • bleeding from your bottom and / or blood in your poo
  • a persistent and unexplained change in bowel habit
  • unexplained weight loss
  • extreme tiredness for no obvious reason
  • a pain or lump in your tummy

Gemma Fieldhouse, Lead Specialist Screening Practitioner at RWT, has worked in bowel cancer screening for eight years. She said: “Screening aims to detect bowel cancer at an early stage which makes it much more treatable. It can also detect small non-cancerous growths called polyps. 

“People aged 60-74 are sent home test kits and are asked to collect a small sample of poo, this is then sent to a lab and checked for tiny amounts of blood. Blood can be a sign of polyps or bowel cancer, if the test finds blood, then you’ll be asked to have further tests to rule out cancer.

“Regular bowel cancer screening reduces the risk of dying from bowel cancer, if you’re sent the kit, help yourself by remembering to complete it. Put it by the loo. Don’t put it off.”

For further support on bowel cancer and for support, visit Bowel Cancer UK.

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