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Young teacher’s life-changing cancer diagnosis

2024-04-23T09:55:53+01:00Tuesday 23 April 2024|

A young bowel cancer patient is looking forward to starting a family next year after having her eggs frozen during treatment for the disease.

Rebecca Rose Price, 27, is sharing her life-changing story to encourage younger people to be alert to potential symptoms and seek medical advice.

The Special Educational Needs and Disabilities teacher has also thanked Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust cancer teams for getting her through her surgery and treatment.

Rebecca has spent her life going back and forth to hospital with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, but bowel cancer never crossed her mind because she is young and eats a balanced diet.

Her diagnosis came after she made the difficult decision to undergo surgery at to remove her large intestine to stop her pain. After this life-changing operation, Rebecca also received life-changing news.

“Although I went through major surgery and ended up on intensive care several times, I felt more prepared for that as both myself and my doctor spoken in-depth about this before having surgery,” said Rebecca, who lives in Birmingham.

“No-one and nothing can prepare you to be told you have cancer. I thought it was just my other illness flaring up. My whole world stood still.

“Almost a year later to the day it is a word that still haunts me, and I believe to an extent it always will. But I believe through this journey I have learnt a lot about myself and what I am capable of.”

After Rebecca’s surgery and her coming to terms with living with a colostomy bag, she was told she needed several rounds of chemotherapy to fight the cancer, before having more surgery to remove her rectum.

Knowing she wanted to start a family one day, and the chances of chemotherapy decreasing her fertility, Rebecca and her partner, Stefan, decided to freeze her eggs before this started.

She received three cycles to retrieve as many eggs as possible and describes her experience as “incredible” as this process could mean she has a baby one day.

Now Rebecca has gone through surgery, chemotherapy, and battled sepsis, she is in recovery and is able to start the process of trying for a baby next year.

Kate Adams, Colorectal Clinical Nurse Specialist at Walsall Healthcare, said: “Age is not a barrier. If you are concerned, please seek medical advice.

“The Colorectal Nursing Team is glad to be able to help Rebecca to start the process of egg retrieval prior to treatment.”

Rebecca is planning on having a permanent colostomy bag which will allow her to live a healthy life. She is in the process of “finding herself and her new body”, as well as recovering from major surgery.

As well as praising her partner for being her rock, she is also commending staff at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust for being her “medical rocks” and getting her through the hardest time of her life.

She said: “The staff at Walsall Oncology and Chemotherapy Unit have been amazing.

“I have to say a massive thank you to them and to the Sepsis and Acute Oncology Nurses who were so amazing to me and have taken care of me since the chemotherapy and sepsis. They all fought so hard to support me alongside my family through this journey.

“My workplace has also been incredible throughout this difficult time which I’m so grateful for.”

Symptoms of bowel cancer may include:

  • changes in your poo, such as having softer poo, diarrhoea or constipation that is not usual for you
  • needing to poo more or less often than usual for you
  • blood in your poo, which may look red or black
  • bleeding from your bottom
  • often feeling like you need to poo, even if you’ve just been to the toilet
  • tummy pain
  • a lump in your tummy
  • bloating
  • losing weight without trying
  • feeling very tired for no reason

For further information, please visit the NHS website:

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