One of the patients of BMI The Chiltern Hospital, who survived bowel cancer, has spoken out about the importance of getting symptoms checked out, after it was revealed that men and women in the UK aren’t seeking advice or help around bowel cancer symptoms out of fear of embarrassment.
Judith Eldridge, aged 63, who lives in Prestwood, Great Missenden with her husband Robert, said: “I’m very concerned that some people won’t go to their doctor because they’re embarrassed.
“I was lucky enough to survive bowel cancer with the help of Consultant Colorectal Surgeon Andrew Huang at BMI The Chiltern Hospital, ten years ago. However, I got help very early on - as soon as I noticed I had a little bit of bleeding - and that was crucially important. It meant that they caught my cancer early enough to treat with surgery alone and I didn’t have to have chemotherapy.
“Two years before, my brother had died of bowel cancer which, by the time it was discovered, had become a large tumour blocking his bowel and there was little that the doctors could do. As a wife, a mother of two, and a grandmother I owed it to my family to make sure I didn’t end up in the same position.”
Judith, who is about to retire from her job as a legal secretary, added: “I’m supporting the BMI Healthcare Be Bowel Aware campaign, because I now understood how important it is to get symptoms checked out as soon as possible. The earlier the doctors catch bowel cancer, the more likely you are to survive it.
Mr Huang and his team took excellent good care of me from day one, and right through my surgery at BMI The Shelburne Hospital and my aftercare at BMI The Chiltern Hospital. I took comfort from being in very good hands with good medical care and a regular dialogue about what was happening to me. Mr Huang and his staff have a fantastic reputation and excellent surgical results for bowel cancer. I was one of the lucky ones I know, but if I hadn’t got to my doctor, I might not have been.
“I would hate for anyone else to reduce their chances of survival because they’re embarrassed! Please, please get any symptoms checked out by a doctor, sooner rather than later.”
BMI Healthcare is working with the charity Beating Bowel Cancer, to help raise bowel cancer awareness throughout the UK. BMI’s specialist team of Gastroenterologists, Colorectal Surgeons and Specialist Oncologists have put together a guide with everything you need to know to help you become more bowel cancer aware - to view and download BMI’s free Be Bowel Aware guide, video and infographics, please visit our dedicated page.