A man in the U.K. is raising awareness about bowel cancer after being diagnosed with the disease without experiencing any symptoms.
An unsuspecting Steve Hollington, 58, had undergone the screening for bowel cancer, which arrived at his doorstep, merely as a precaution. The simple at-home kit known as a fecal immunochemical test was later sent to the lab for processing, according to Cheshire Live.
After testing positive, Hollington thanked his lucky stars his disease was detected on time, and called the immunochemical test a “winning lottery ticket” for saving his life.
“It’s a no-brainer for me. I had no symptoms, I would have carried on not knowing had I not taken the test, and leaving it so long would have almost certainly been too late to receive the treatment I have,” he told the news outlet.
He said 20 more years were added to his life expectancy thanks to the test.
After the initial procedures were over, Hollington was required to undergo a colonoscopy, which detected two tumors in his bowel–something that left him completely in disbelief.
The diagnosis was followed by surgery, after which he was fitted with a stoma to allow the bowel to heal. Eighteen lymph nodes were removed and, now, Hollington is halfway through a three-month course of chemotherapy, according to Hull Live.
“There were some really worrying and emotional times, but I’ve tried to remain positive,” he said. “I feel like I’m over the worst parts of it, the surgery has removed the tumors, the chemotherapy will hopefully mop up any of the cancerous cells and after the course has finished, hopefully, I will be able to have a stoma reversal.”
“Catching bowel cancer before it spreads can reduce the risk of dying and make treatment so much more manageable,” Dr Michael Gregory, medical director for NHS England North West, told Cheshire Live, urging people to take the screening tests. “The FIT kit is a vital part of our screening program, so I’d urge anyone who has received a kit but has yet to return it to not put it off.”
Tell-tale signs of colorectal cancer
Colorectal or colon cancer is one of the leading killers in the U.S. that “don’t have symptoms early on, or sometimes no symptoms at all,” Philip Y. Pearson, MD, colorectal surgeon at Bryn Mawr Hospital and Paoli, told Main Line Health.
To spot a red flag, which most times are subtle, one should keep an eye out for signs like:
- A change in bowel habits that lasts for more than a few days, including diarrhea, constipation, and change in stool caliber
- Bright red or very dark red blood in your stool
- Constant fatigue
- Cramping, abdominal pain, or bloating
- Unintended weight loss