A Rye man who has stage four bowel cancer was at the heart of Bowel Cancer UK’s campaign to mark ‘World Advanced Bowel Cancer Day’ on Friday, September 27.
Every year around 42,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with bowel cancer, with 10,000 people diagnosed at stage four. This is also known as advanced, secondary or metastatic disease, and is when the cancer spreads from the bowel to other parts of the body, like the liver or lungs.
Richard Bingham, 41, was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer in May 2016. He said: “My symptoms started in February 2016, when I felt a pain in my backside, with a feeling akin to having a golf ball lodged up there. I also had changes in my bowel motions. When I first went to the doctor, it was initially diagnosed as possible irritable bowel disease so I went away with some pills under instructions to return in two weeks if they didn’t help.
“I returned two weeks later and pushed for a colonoscopy.
“It was immediately after the colonoscopy, which took place in late April 2016, that I got my diagnosis.”
Richard has undergone multiple rounds of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgeries, including having half of his liver, his gallbladder and a tumour removed in April 2017.
He continued: “I was forced to have a break from chemo in early 2019 owing to adhesions in my abdomen which were finally dealt with in February 2019, but in the interim the cancer went a bit crazy, especially in my lungs where, at the last count there were about 40 growths.
“I am continuing with chemo to try to bring the cancer under control again so I am currently back in a ‘wait and watch’ situation.”
Dr Lisa Wilde, Bowel Cancer UK’s director of research and external affairs, says: “Richard’s experience makes the charity even more determined to make real change happen for people diagnosed with advanced bowel cancer. We have been calling on the government for a long time to put initiatives in place to reduce the number of people diagnosed at the late stage of the disease and help ensure more people are diagnosed at the earlier stages. Being aware of the symptoms and visiting your GP if things don’t feel right can help increase chances of an early diagnosis.”
Visit bowelcanceruk.org.uk for more information.