A PENARTH man has spoken of his experience of being diagnosed with bowel cancer during a month dedicated to raising awareness of the disease.

Patrick Wymer, 53, from Penarth, was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer which spread to his lungs and liver.

“I went to see my GP as I was experiencing persistent stomach pains,” he said.

“In hindsight I had at least two other common symptoms for a while – weight loss and more frequent, looser bowel movements. I put this down to being naturally slim and irritable bowel syndrome, or a food allergy.

“My GP examined me and referred me to a specialist.

“After a consultation and further examination, I was booked in for a colonoscopy. However, the pains intensified before then and I visited A&E three times.

“On the third visit, a scan determined that I would need surgery to check things out properly. 

“Soon after returning home I received the dreaded call formally confirming the tumour was cancerous. I had a further scan and attended a clinic to meet my oncologist for the first time.

“The scan confirmed the disease had spread to my liver and almost certainly to my lungs. 

“It never occurred to me that there was anything seriously wrong and I probably didn’t make that crucial appointment soon enough.”

The survival rate for someone diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer is just 11 per cent after five years.

As part of Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, Bowel Cancer UK and Beating Bowel Cancer conducted a study revealing 26 per cent of people in Wales could only name one symptom of the disease.

The most common symptoms are a pain or lump in the stomach, a change of bowel habit, extreme weight loss, unexplained tiredness and blood in stools.

More information is available at: bowelcanceruk.org.uk