Grandmother survived bowel cancer thanks to home testing kit

A grandmother from the Black Country has said her life was saved thanks to a home testing kit for bowel cancer, as she urges others to do their screening checks.

Marjorie Harper
Marjorie Harper

Marjorie Harper, from Coseley, was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2019 and puts her recovery down to a home kit she describes as a "life saver".

The 74-year-old received a bowel screening kit due to being registered with a GP and aged between 60 and 74, meaning she was eligible for it.

After being diagnosed, undergoing scans and receiving treatment from the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, she is fit and healthy again.

She said: "I was so scared when I was told I had cancer, I just stopped and knew that I would have to fight it for my family – the ones I love dearly. After losing my husband to a tumour several years ago, the ‘C’ word scared me, but I knew I was strong.

"The care I received was second to none, especially from Dr. Elgaddel; she is just absolutely amazing. Even though you are never really given the all clear, I go every five months and get told there isn’t any cancer there and those words are music to my ears."

Marjorie formerly worked for social services and is looking forward to going to Saint-Malo, in France, with her children and grandchildren later this year. She has also praised the Bowel Cancer Team at the NHS trust for their efforts.

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

Symptoms include bleeding from the bottom and, or, blood in poo, along with a persistent and unexplained change in bowel habit, unexplained weight loss, extreme tiredness for no obvious reason and a pain or lump in the stomach area.

Gemma Fieldhouse, lead screening practitioner at the hospital trust, said: "Bowel cancer is very treatable if diagnosed early. If you have any symptoms, do not be embarrassed and do not ignore them.

"You should contact your GP if you have any of the symptoms of bowel cancer for three weeks or more. It is vital you do the home test kit when it has been sent through to you, because it could save your life.

"If you are over the age of 60, you will be sent one every two years to detect anything unusual in your bowel. Please make sure you do this as a priority."

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