It was early 2019 when Emma Campbell felt two sharp spasms, akin to early contractions. Doctors declared the soon-to-be mum-of-three had constipation due to her pregnancy. Yet, when little Krista was born, the pain in her abdomen didn’t subside.
The 39-year-old told The Mirror that she came across a £39 bowel screening test that she saw online.
Buying the test, Emma said: “It 100 percent saved my life, as it showed something wasn’t right.”
The primary school teacher then had a colonoscopy at the hospital, which revealed Emma had cancer.
Emma said that was the “worst week” of her and husband Kari’s lives.
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“I was so scared and lonely those first few weeks,” she shared.
In September 2020, Emma had a section of her large intestine removed, alongside a tumour.
By January 2021, the whole family was relieved to hear that Emma had been given the all-clear.
“Bowel cancer is cancer found anywhere in the large bowel,” the NHS clarifies.
While the condition can develop in anyone, there are certain factors that can increase a person’s risk of bowel cancer.
You may be more likely to get bowel cancer if:
- You’re over 50
- You smoke
- You’re overweight
- A close relative has had bowel cancer
- You have inflammatory bowel disease, which includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
- You have small growths in your bowel called bowel polyps
- You have Lynch syndrome or familial adenomatous polyposis.
The NHS bowel cancer screening applies to people aged 60 to 74 years.
While there isn’t a way to prevent the onset of bowel cancer, there are ways to minimise your risk of the life-threatening disease.
Top tips from the health body include:
- Eat a healthy diet including at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day
- Stay active and exercise regularly
- Lose weight if you’re overweight
- Quit smoking
- Drink less alcohol
- Eat less red and processed meat.
Nowadays, there are a multitude of ways cancer can be treated.
However, the sooner a tumour is discovered, the more successful treatment is likely to be.