Blackpool cancer survivor ‘shocked’ at her diagnosis

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A bowel cancer survivor backed a health trust’s fight against the disease for national Bowel Cancer Awareness Month.

Karen Ebdon from Blackpool, who works in the Clinical Coding department at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, was successfully treated for bowel cancer and is recovering well.

The quicker they can catch it, the quicker you can deal with it. Just get it checked out

She is now urging people to get checked out as soon as they have symptoms so that they have a better chance of beating the disease.

Karen, 49, said: “The quicker they can catch it, the quicker you can deal with it. Just get it checked out.

“I started with signs and symptoms, especially changes in my bowel habits and bleeding. It was frightening at first but I didn’t think it was anything suspect.

“It was a huge shock to find out it was cancer.”

Karen was diagnosed two weeks later in May last year and had a major operation to remove the cancerous part of her bowel and join the healthy ends back together.

She did not have any secondary cancers and did not need to have chemotherapy.

Nichola Ritchie, a Colorectal Cancer and Stoma Clinical Nurse Specialist for the Trust, said: “Our aim is to get people to recognise the symptoms and act on them. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about and it could save your life.”

Symptoms include intermittent and occasionally severe abdominal pain provoked by eating, unintentional weight loss, persistent abdominal pain, stomach swelling, and vomiting with constant abdominal swelling.

Other signs include passing blood, a change in bowel habits lasting for three weeks or more, a lump in the abdomen, and extreme tiredness.

The trust had information stalls on the Mezzanine floor at the hospital throughout last week as part of Bowel Cancer Awareness Month.

Members of staff from the Colorectal Cancer and Stoma Clinical Nurse Specialists’ team, and the Lancashire Bowel Screening Service, were also on hand.