Bowel cancer screening is not something many people like to think about, and you may have even ignored the Faecal Occult Blood Test (iFOBT) kit that comes in the mail every two years after you turn 50. But did you know that if found early, nine out of ten cases of bowel cancer can be successfully treated?
For 59-year-old Mount Nelson local Paul Salter, sadly a bowel cancer diagnosis didn’t come as a surprise. Several years earlier, Paul had received his first bowel screening test in the mail. Although he was reluctant to use it, he ended up needing a polyp removed and went on to do another test four years later in 2016 which came back negative.
When he started experiencing early warning signs of bowel cancer such as changes in the frequency, volume and consistency of his bowel movements and eventually finding blood in his stool, Paul put off going to the doctor. He made excuses that he was too busy with his work as a firefighter during the busy 2018/2019 summer of bushfires – despite being concerned that something wasn’t right.
“Even though I was aware something was wrong, I foolishly decided to ignore the symptoms and convinced myself that I couldn’t afford to take the time to go to a doctor. When I finally had a colonoscopy in April 2019, I was told at the age of 57 that I have bowel cancer.”