A Whaley Bridge woman who lost her partner to bowel cancer has called for the testing age for the disease to be lowered - saying too many people are dying unnecessarily.
Raising awareness of bowel cancer is important to Anne Stopher, whose partner Kevin Hurt, 54, sadly lost his battle with the disease in January.
The second biggest cancer killer in the UK, with nearly 16,000 people dying each year, bowel cancer is treatable and curable especially if diagnosed early.
Anne, 50, said: “Kev was diagnosed at 51 after spending six months visiting GPs complaining of bowel cancer symptoms, but he was told that he was too young and couldn’t possibly have the disease.
“Eventually a colonoscopy proved them wrong and he was diagnosed with stage three colon cancer. He then urgently went through major bowel surgery, resulting in a colostomy bag.
“After six months of chemotherapy they operated again and reversed the stoma. He was the happiest man alive until he was told it had spread to his urethra and kidney.
“He went under the knife once more to remove a diseased kidney and had six months of chemotherapy, while continuing to work. He was the bravest man I have ever met.”
Sadly, in July 2017, doctors informed the couple that the cancer had spread aggressively to his liver and there was nothing more they could do.
“We were stunned,” Anne said. “In November our relationship was blessed in our local church surrounded by close family and friends. He passed away just eight weeks later, aged just 54.
“Kev leaves a gaping hole in my life and in many others. His son walks down the aisle this year without his dad by his side.”
She added: “I believe the age for bowel cancer testing has to be lowered - too many people are dying unnecessarily. Kev had everything to live for and quite possibly would still be here now if they tested at 50.”
Throughout June, Anne will be taking on the ‘Step up for 30’ challenge to raise funds for Bowel Cancer UK and Beating Bowel Cancer in memory of Kevin “so his death is not in vain”.
The campaign encourages people to get sponsored to do 30 minutes of physical activity every day for 30 days. Research shows that taking part in regular exercise can decrease the risk of bowel cancer.
Events Manager for Bowel Cancer UK and Beating Bowel Cancer, Leanne Richards, said: “We are very proud to have Anne fundraising for us, it’s an amazing challenge.
“For us, at Bowel Cancer UK and Beating Bowel Cancer, it means we can continue with our vital work of saving lives, enabling research and improving the quality of life for all those affected by bowel cancer.”
To support Anne, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/anne-stopher4.
The symptoms of bowel cancer
Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK and the second biggest cancer killer, affecting both men and women. Every 15 minutes in the UK someone is diagnosed with bowel cancer. That’s almost 42,000 people every year.
Bowel cancer is treatable and curable especially if diagnosed early.
Nearly everyone diagnosed at the earliest stage will survive bowel cancer. However, this drops significantly as the disease develops.
The symptoms of bowel cancer can include:
• bleeding from your bottom and/or blood in your poo;
• a persistent and unexplained change in bowel habit;
• unexplained weight loss;
• extreme tiredness for no obvious reason;
• a pain or lump in your tummy
Most people with these symptoms don’t have bowel cancer. Other health problems can cause similar symptoms. If you have one or more of these, or if things just don’t feel right, the advice is to visit your GP.