Express & Star

'My family history made me act quickly on my bowel cancer symptoms - I can't praise staff enough'

A retired children's social care manager has shared her story of getting treated for bowel cancer after her father and aunt died of a similar illness.

Wendy Ball got checked for bowel cancer after noticing issues with her health

Wendy Ball, 64, was diagnosed with bowel cancer last year following a request for a colonoscopy due to her family history.

Wendy, of Walsall, was concerned when she started to notice blood after going to the toilet and after quickly seeing her doctor, was given an urgent referral by her GP.

Following her colonoscopy, cancerous cells were detected, and within weeks she received an ileostomy – a surgery that helps treat diseases like bowel cancer by making an opening in her abdominal wall and possibly removing the large bowel.

Wendy was prompted to check on the disease when she realised that her father and aunt had sadly passed away from the same illness prior.

Now, Wendy praised the efforts of the medical staff, saying that she "can't praise the staff enough".

Wendy said: "I can't praise the staff enough. I have a stoma bag fitted and they have been supportive not only of my physical health but of my mental health also.

"The operation was a success and thanks to the amazing staff, my cancer has been removed."

As well as regular checks with the Oncology Team, Wendy is also supported by the Pre-Rehabilitation Team as they visit to check her stoma bag, and blood pressure, and carry out other tests.

Ginny Hill, colorectal clinical nurse specialist at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, stressed the importance of those with a family history of certain cancers getting checked, also saying that early intervention is the key to staying healthy.

She said: "Early diagnosis is essential to good outcomes. It's great that Wendy sought advice from her GP early.

"Act quickly and ask questions. It may be scary, but it's worth it to preserve your health and your life."