Colorectal Cancer Diagnosis
Have you recently received a Colorectal Cancer diagnosis and don’t know where to turn because your head is all over the place?
Are you looking for a portal you can visit for a host of information on colorectal cancer and just browse through a variety of useful posts and comments from like minded colon cancer patients?
First of all, I know exactly how you feel at what seems to be the most terrible of times in your life, I too was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in July 2011.
As a result of my devastating colon cancer diagnosis and the treatment which followed, I felt compelled to put together this blog as a resource for bowel cancer patients to drop by and post their thoughts and feelings as well as make available a host of information to help you through what can only be termed as such a difficult time.
Colorectal Cancer – You’re Joking
Personally, I always thought, it won’t happen to me – famous last words (or not I hope) … excuse the pun – making a joke of my colorectal cancer now helps me deal with my diagnosis and at some stage in the not too distant future, you may find the same approach helps too.
Whilst I never envisaged being told I had a large cancerous tumour growing inside my colon, it didn’t come as a surprise as I’d experienced a number of colorectal cancer symptoms for several months prior to my Doctor delivering the so unwanted news.
Colorectal Cancer Symptoms Include:
- Bleeding From Back Passsage
- Change In Bowel Habit (Constipation / Diarrhoea)
- Narrow Pencil Like Motions
- Severe Abdominal Pain
- Unexplained Weight Loss
- Loss Of Appetite
- Anaemia (Caused By Loss Of Blood)
- Extreme Tiredness & Weakness
Spot The Colorectal Cancer Signs
Each and every person is different so some people won’t experience all the symptoms of colorectal cancer whilst others won’t experience any symptoms at all in the early stages.
Even if you have one of the bowel cancer symptoms listed above, this does NOT mean you have colorectal cancer however, if you have any colorectal cancer symptoms at all and you experience them for a period of 3 weeks, you really should seek help and advice from your GP.
If you are worried that you may have colon cancer or you have noticed any of the signs of bowel cancer, your GP should be your first port of call – your GP may then refer you for either a sigmoidoscopy or a colonoscopy at your local hospital trust.
Unfortunately, my GP delayed putting in the referral on a number of occasions so I was living with the cancerous tumour growing in my colon for several months so if you have any doubts whatsoever, I urge you to seek medical advice in the first instance from your GP or chase them up as I did.
Colorectal Cancer Screening
Sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy – all sounds very daunting but in fact, the actual proceedure isn’t anywhere near as bad as it sounds.
I went into my local NHS Hospital as a day patient for a sigmoidoscopy. Some patients I’ve heard and read about seem to have missed this proceedure and were offered a colonoscopy which in fact, allows the Consultant or Surgeon to view more of your colon.
Hearing “You Have Bowel Cancer”
The result of my sigmoidoscopy which took approx. 15 minutes was that I had what appeared to be a large tumour in my colon – the Consultant and Surgeon de – livered the news shortly after I returned to the day ward and he informed me that I’d need a colonoscopy, so he could see further around my bowel and then he delivered the news that I’d need a major operation to remove the tumour.
I was devastated … I knew there was something wrong inside my colon and I’d guessed for months that I had “colorectal cancer” but still, nothing prepared me for hearing those unsavoury words.
I asked was it cancer and he stated, based on his knowledge and what he’d seen in his career, yes, it was more than likely colorectal cancer.
I heard the diagnosis and everything he talked about doing but it was as if I was having an outer body experience, as if I was on the outside looking in – I felt devastated and yet I didn’t shed a tear, I was quite calm apart from the bowel cancer diagnosis being surreal … no doubt, if you read this far down and you’ve been diagnosed as having colorectal cancer, you will know exactly what I mean.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, for this section anway, I had a colonoscopy which found a polyp on the other side of my colon and this was removed and sent away for analysis – this returned a benign negative result … voila!
Colorectal Cancer Treatment
I then had a number of blood tests followed by a CT scan – the scan revealed the cancerous tumour was growing through my bowel wall and I was advised further, by a Specialist Colorectal Nurse what would happen during my operation and what I might need in the form of chemotherapy some weeks after my op.
I had the operation which went really well and to be perfectly honest, it wasn’t as bad as I’d thought and that’s coming from someone who must be the biggest baby on the planet – I was told the day after my operation that the whole of the tumour had been removed successfully and that 45 lymph nodes or lymph glands had been removed too as the cancer had spread into 5 of those.
As my cancer had spread, I was then given chemotherapy and whilst this was the most unpleasant part of the process for me, I coped with it and I’ve now completed my 6 month course and am now enjoying my life again.
Yes, there are follow ups to contend with and no doubt, having been treated for colorectal cancer will always stay with me but at the same time, it has made me more aware of how important life really is and that if I can cope and deal with a colorectal cancer diagnosis, the majority of people can.