Regular user
Male 43 y.o.

43yo Husband & Dad to 3 amazing kids
Triathlete, Cyclist, Swimmer, Cockapoo Owner
Glass half-full

3 months after my 40th birthday

Infrequent bright red blood on toilet paper (most b.c symptoms show ‘dark red blood’, likely reason is that it is low down
No other symptoms
2 years prior my GP did an internal examination & said it was an old pile
My Mum got breast cancer at 38, so after niggling me I went back and pushed for colonoscopy
Oncologist said 2 years ago it probably was an old pile as the tumour didn’t look 2 years old, but I did the right thing persisting

July ‘19
4/7 Colonoscopy found a 3cm cancer of the rectum 6cm from the anal verge and staged with MRI and CT scan as T2N1M0
Biopsies confirmed the presence of a cancer which was moderately differentiated.
MRI, CT, internal Ultrasound confirmed cancerous growth in top 1-2 layers of bowel
Located in lower rectum making surgery challenging without needing Stoma
PET scan - x1 ‘suspicious’ lymph node (5mm) assumed cancerous, undertook scan to confirm either way

Aug ‘19
PET scan - suspect lymph node didn’t light up so appears to have been contained within the growth
Started x5 weeks Chemoradiotherapy (Capecitabine), Mount Alvernia, Guildford

Sept '19
x3 Fortnightly Papillion internal radiotherapy / brachytherapy treatments at St Luke’s, Guildford

Dec ‘19
18/12 Post-treatment MRI & CT scans to see response

Jan ‘20
13/1 Scan results showed no sign of any cancer

Feb '20
7/2 Follow up flexible sigmoidoscopy under sedation - showed all clear albeit with a small ulcer likely caused by the radio.
Surgeons view was that this is much better than he would have hoped for.

Feb '20
28/2 MRI - Came back all clear. Consultant said appears to be a complete response

May ‘20 - 5 month checkup
MRI & CT, both normal

June ‘20
Infrequent bleeding so had a rigid sigmoidscope & internal examination.
Consultant said all looked perfectly normal, bleeding put down to radiotherapy side effects

Sept ‘20 - 9 Month checkup
MRI & Flexi - all clear, site still ‘angry’ causing some bleeding

Dec ‘20/Jan ‘21 - 12 Month checkup
CT, MRI & Colonoscopy under sedation
Scans all clear, consultant took a biopsy of an irregularity to be on the safe side. He assumed it was scar tissue and biopsy results confirmed this.

April ‘21 - 15 Month checkup
MRI & Flexi Sigmoidscopy
Both look healthy and normal
Minimal bleeding now, maybe a few times every 3-4 weeks

September ‘21 - 20 Month checkup (Covid delayed)
MRI & Flexi Sigmoidscopy
Both look healthy and normal

January ‘21 - 2 Year Checkup
MRI & Flexi Sigmoidscopy
Both look healthy and normal
Surveillance extended from 3 monthly to 6 monthly

I feel it’s also important to reference the mental impact too. Overall the first two weeks post initial diagnosis was the worst, however once the diagnosis (early stage) was confirmed and an action plan was put in place I felt much better.

I was very open with friends and family and even colleagues and spoke about my feelings and emotions and this got me though it. Obviously every checkup caused some anxiety (Classic Scanxiety) but on surveillance I’d be fine for 10 weeks then the 2 weeks over the MRI/CT/flexi period I’d get some anxiety. Once I got the ‘so far as we can see it’s still clear’ it would dissipate.

In January I hit the 2 year all clear and the scans moved to 6 monthly, and this year I feel like I have developed more anxiety and have sought the help of a Psychologist to deal with this.