Patient inspired to write book following bowel cancer experience




A former patient at BMI The Priory Hospital was inspired to write a book based on his experience dealing with bowel cancer scare.

Mr Beavan has kindly decided to share some of his experience here with us.

Mr Stanley Beavan, 47, visited his GP with symptoms of blood in his stools and an ache above his pelvis. After being referred for a flexible sigmoidoscopy, to look inside the bowel, Stanley received devastating news. The consultant sat him and his wife down and said the results showed he had stage 4 bowel cancer. Later, a CT scan identified there were also spots on his liver. During the time of diagnosis, he had seven tumours in his liver, and was told it would be inoperable. He could not comprehend this was happening to him, let alone, how much the cancer had spread.

Mr Stanley started chemotherapy immediately and tried to process the reality of what was happening to him and his body, but he wasn’t prepared to accept that nothing could be done. He wanted to take control and devised his own conquer cancer strategy to give him the very best chance of having an operation to remove the tumours.

Following advice from a friend at work Stanley learnt about an antibody drug which he enquired about and was very keen to start. He was also recommended to a nutritionist with a Fellowship in cancer care and a functional medicine practitioner, as he wanted his body to be in the best possible condition. This led to changes in his diet: substituting dairy, sugar and processed foods for goat and ewe’s milk along with coconut products instead. He educated himself on what ingredients would help his immune system and built those into his diet. For example, he would cook with turmeric as the main active ingredient in turmeric (Curcumin), has powerful anti-inflammatory effects, as well as being a strong antioxidant.

Simon Radley

During his chemotherapy treatment, his immune system was incredibly low. However, the dietary and lifestyle choices he had made, as a result of the nutritional advice he received, enabled him to help boost his blood levels. Researching pioneering drugs and educating himself on nutrition proved to be a welcoming distraction, as well as being part of Stanley’s strategy and coping mechanism to give his body a fighting chance of having an operation.

In May 2017, Stanley had liver resection surgery which involved removing 25% of his liver and spending time in intensive care. Combining the operation with the chemotherapy treatment and the medication he was given; this successfully led to him being given the all clear. He said, “It was incredible to hear the news of being free from bowel and liver cancer. I was so lucky to have a supportive network of people around me. My wife was amazing, and my employer was quite sympathetic which helped massively. It was very hard but staying positive was so important and I felt that one thing I could do was control was my diet, and eating the right things, in collaboration with the treatment I received really helped.”

Mr Beavan continues to be monitored and has regular examinations by both colonoscopy and scans with Consultant Colorectal Surgeon Mr Simon Radley at BMI The Priory Hospital in Birmingham. This not only gives him the peace of mind to know that the bowel cancer has not returned, but if there was ever anything suspicious, it would be identified in the early stages. Mr Radley stated, “Stanley had an advanced cancer when he first presented and has had a complete response to his chemotherapy treatment. He remains in remission and I’ve no doubt that his incredibly positive attitude towards his disease has been a really important factor in his recovery”.

Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK, and around 42,000 people are diagnosed with it each year. Mr Beavan wants to speak out and create awareness, but specifically among men. He felt when he was going through his illness; there was a noticeable lack of information from male patients as, they typically suffer in silence. He has decided to write a book detailing his experience in the hope that this will help others going through the same illness as him.

Mr Beavan has stated: “My experience has inspired me to write a book - The Complete Response being published by Austin Macauley Publishers about how I dealt with the diagnosis, the emotions my family and I went through and what helped me beat cancer. I hope it inspires and influences men to not only feel open to talk about their illness, but to try and give them a positive outlook and reinforce that cancer can be defeated.”

Categories: Health, Cancer Care

Date: 28th June 2019