Char­ity helps bowel can­cer suf­fer­ers

Harefield Gazette - - OPINION -

DUR­ING Bowel Can­cer Aware­ness Month this April I would like to urge fam­i­lies of can­cer pa­tients to seek the prac­ti­cal and emo­tional sup­port they need.

Ten years ago my mum was very ill. She told me it was glan­du­lar fever, but she was ac­tu­ally dy­ing of bowel can­cer. She was try­ing to pro­tect me but it meant she ended up fight­ing the dis­ease alone. I was left felling ex­tremely alone too.

I didn’t know about the char­ity Beat­ing Bowel Can­cer then, but in the fol­low­ing years they have helped by teach­ing me that I am far from alone. I am ac­tu­ally in a mas­sive group of peo­ple whose lives have been des­per­ately af­fected by bowel can­cer.

A new study, Hid­den Heartache – The Un­told Story of Bowel Can­cer, which has been pub­lished by Beat­ing Bowel Can­cer, shows that bowel can­cer doesn’t just af­fect those go­ing through the dis­ease, but hits loved ones hard.

When a fam­ily mem­ber or friend is di­ag­nosed with bowel can­cer you feel, quite rightly, that the fo­cus should be on the pa­tient, their treat­ment and re­cov­ery. But it’s vi­tal that fam­ily and friends also get the in­for­ma­tion and help they need so they can, in turn, care for and sup­port their loved one.

It’s also im­por­tant that the per­son go­ing through can­cer knows the peo­ple clos­est to them are be­ing sup­ported.

So we’re urg­ing any­one who is af­fected by bowel can­cer to en­sure that they have suf­fi­cient prac­ti­cal and emo­tional sup­port in or­der to cope – and ask­ing oth­ers in the com­mu­nity to reach out to peo­ple they know who are af­fected by the dis­ease.

If you have any queries or con­cerns about bowel can­cer, go to www.beat­ing­bow­el­cancer.org or call the helpline on 020 8973 0011.

SEAN FLETCHER Am­bas­sador for Beat­ing Bowel Can­cer

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