Bowel cancer screening saved my life says Stockport hospital volunteer

Alec Broughton, a volunteer at Stepping Hill Hospital, is supporting the national Be Clear on Cancer campaign and is urging those eligible for NHS bowel cancer screening to take the test.

Alec, 69, a widower from Poynton and grandad to Katie and Jack was diagnosed with stage 2 bowel cancer in November  2012  after taking part in the bowel cancer screening programme.

Alec was reluctant at first to take the test and said; “I was never one for changing nappies, so I wasn’t keen to take the test.  Following the third test I did, when I was 65, traces of blood were found and I was sent to hospital for further tests. A cancerous tumour was found in my bowel”.

Alec had not experienced any significant symptoms before completing the screening test.  Alec said, “I had a bit of constipation which I’d put down to my diet, but otherwise I felt completely well.”

Alec was quickly referred for surgery at Stepping Hill Hospital. Fortunately the cancer had not spread and, following his surgery and a short course of treatment, he is now free from cancer.

Alec said, “I feel very lucky indeed that my cancer was caught early. I would urge anyone who has received the kit not to ignore it.  This little test saved my life – It could save yours.”

Alec now volunteers at Stepping Hill Hospital and the Beating Bowel Cancer Charity.

Alec added, “I joined the volunteer programme at the hospital as a way of saying thank you for the superb treatment I received under  my surgeon Mr. Edwin Clarke. I have also recently started volunteering for Beating Bowel Cancer. I call up patients who haven’t returned the screening test to encourage them to do the test and return it.”

Claire Hall, a consultant surgeon at Stepping Hill Hospital, who specialises in bowel cancer said, “Some people don’t return the test kit because they don’t think they need to take part if they’re not feeling ill. But screening is designed to detect bowel cancer before any symptoms develop.

“Even if the kit does show something out of the ordinary, it doesn’t mean it will turn out to be cancer. But if it is cancer, catching it at an early stage means it is easier to treat.”

People aged 60-74, who are registered with a GP, receive an NHS bowel cancer screening kit through the post, every two years.

Bowel cancer screening is a simple test that can be done in the privacy of your own home. It is designed to detect early signs of bowel cancer. The Be Clear on Cancer campaign is run by Public Health England and Cancer Research UK.

For more information visit the ‘Be Clear on Cancer’ web page www.cruk.org.uk/beclearoncancer or ring the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Helpline on 0800 707 60 60.