Mum and wife speaks out about the devastation of bowel cancer
April is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month; as the month draws to a close, Team Verrico's Head of Social Media, Gina Shergold, shared her personal experience of the disease.
“The general view of bowel cancer tends to be that it’s an ‘old person’s disease’ and although the majority of people diagnosed are over 50, more than 2,500 under 50s are diagnosed with bowel cancer each year in the UK.
“Steve was 30 years old, fit and healthy when I met him. He played sports and ran long distances regularly. A mere four months later, he was diagnosed with Stage 3 Bowel Cancer.
“The next three and a half years were overshadowed by operations, chemotherapy, clinical trials, hospital and hospice visits. There was a glimmer of hope amid the chaos, though; for a period of around eight months, Steve was considered cancer-free. We were reassured that the chances of recurrence were minimal and encouraged to go ahead with the wedding we’d planned and to start a family if that’s what we wanted to do. It was, so we did, and we believed cancer was no longer a part of our lives.
“Just over a week after discovering I was pregnant, a scan revealed the devastating news that Steve’s cancer had returned and spread. Treatment started the very next day but sadly, Steve never recovered. He died five weeks after we celebrated our daughter Esmée’s first birthday.
“I heard about Team Verrico at the beginning of last year and was struck by the similarities in Anna and Steve’s stories. I learned about how Team Verrico helps families just like ours. The support they offer is invaluable to those facing what we faced and that’s why I want to help try to spread the Team Verrico message to all those who need help”
“Because Bowel cancer involves blood in poo, people are reluctant to get checked. The symptoms include unexplained weight loss; extreme tiredness for no obvious reason; a change in bowel habit lasting 3 weeks or more; bleeding from the bottom and/or blood in your poo; a pain or lump in your tummy. If any of those apply to you, please make an appointment at the Dr and get checked out.”
“If you know anyone who could do with Team Verrico’s help, whether that be for a second opinion on Harley Street, counselling for a bereaved family or practical help, put them in touch. If we can help, we will