'Get yourself checked out. It could save you...'
SEVEN weeks ago, Trevor Mahy had surgery for bowel cancer.
Trevor was lucky that it was caught early: his cancer was detected during an investigation for another medical problem. For some time he'd been suffering with severe stomach pains accompanied by violent bouts of vomiting.
The episodes were so painful that on several occasions the 64-year-old had to be taken to hospital by ambulance, where he needed very strong pain relief.
The symptoms were sporadic, with extreme pain for a few hours which then subsided. Blood tests, CT scans and X-rays had been carried out but doctors felt that further investigations were needed.
They decided he needed a colonoscopy and he was booked into the Day Patient Unit. If this proved negative, the next step would be an exploratory operation.
But a week after the exploratory procedure MSG surgeon Mr Robert Kiff had news for Trevor: although they had not found anything that they could initially relate to the sickness episodes, the colonoscopy had revealed cancer in the bowel.
In February the affected section was removed. Trevor had Dukes A cancer – a very early, treatable stage, and it appears there is no need for follow-up treatment.
With bowel cancer, as with any form of cancer, early detection is of vital importance. Catching it in the early stages makes a difference to the treatment required and long-term health outcomes. Any change in bowel habits, blood in stools or sudden weight loss could be a sign of bowel cancer, and Trevor urged anyone to get help as quickly as possible if any signs show up.
'In my case I have to say that early detection, and the care given by the surgeons, nurses, and staff in the hospital plus the back-up from the local cancer nurses, was second to none. I was given all the information to advise me of the operation procedure, advice on diet and postoperative exercise,' said Trevor.
'I'm now eating a normal diet and driving again just weeks after the operation. In other words, to all intents and purposes, leading a normal life again.'
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