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Former bowel cancer patients urge people to get checked

2022-04-13T01:11:02+01:00Wednesday 13 April 2022|
  • David Dixon
  • Roger Fletcher

Two bowel cancer survivors are urging people to go to their GP for a check-up if something doesn’t feel right, as the focus falls on raising awareness of the disease this month.

David Dixon of Bentley, and Roger Fletcher of Brownhills, have been given the all clear after being diagnosed with bowel cancer which came as a massive shock to them both.

They have agreed to share their stories as part of Bowel Cancer Awareness Month.

Bowel Cancer is the UK’s second biggest cancer killer with one person being diagnosed every 15 minutes in the UK – that’s nearly 43,000 each year. Bowel Cancer Awareness Month is recognised annually to raise awareness as it is easier to treat, if diagnosed early.

The symptoms include:

  • bleeding from your bottom and/or blood in your poo
  • a persistent and unexplained change in bowel habit
  • unexplained weight loss
  • extreme tiredness for no obvious reason
  • a pain or lump in your tummy.

Both David and Roger knew that their bodies didn’t feel right, so they spoke to their GPs and were fast tracked to Walsall’s Manor Hospital.

David, 60, said: “I remember just feeling that something wasn’t right in January 2020, and I started to go to the toilet more frequently.

“Going to the doctors was the best decision I ever made. After a few months of thorough scans I was diagnosed in July 2020 then was given all clear just under 12 months after.

“The coloscopy confirmed that I had bowel cancer and after months of chemotherapy, two operations and 13 months of having a colostomy bag, I am now cancer free – all thanks to the amazing staff at Walsall Manor.”

In June 2021 Roger, 71, was diagnosed after his blood tests showed high levels of prostate specific antigen and after his scan showed shadows around his bowel.

He said: “I started having radiotherapy and many rounds of chemotherapy which took its toll on me a little bit, but I still kept going for my family. If it wasn’t for me going to the doctor’s and having a blood test due to changes in my bowel habit, I may not be here today to tell my story.

“If I could tell you one important thing this Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, it would be to get checked if you have any symptoms or if something just doesn’t feel right. You know your own body – reach out if it feels different.”

Bowel cancer is more common in those aged 50 and over, but younger people should still be  checked out.

Elaine Swan, Colorectal Nurse Consultant at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust said: “Here at Walsall Manor Hospital we are a well-established team working together with our medical colleagues to improve bowel cancer care for patients. We are so proud and are constantly working to develop the service that we offer to patients and their families.”

For further information on bowel cancer and for support, visit

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