Age at diagnosis: 38

Symptoms:  Ongoing irritable bowel-type symptoms then substantial blood in stools for three months prior to diagnosis

Duration of symptoms: Irritable bowel-type symptoms for years, bleeding for three months

Diagnosis: Stage 4 metastatic colon cancer. Mid-sigmoid bowel, surrounding lymph nodes, and wide-spread liver cancer

Treatments: Folfox chemotherapy, mid-sigmoid colon re-section, minor left lobe liver resection.

My story: I was fortunate that my GP was thorough and followed up on my test results. He was quick to refer me for acute treatment at the hospital. I only wish that I saw him earlier, even in that first week that I had that bad bleeding.

With aggressive cancers every day, week, and month counts towards getting much needed treatment.

It is a big thing for a Māori male to go to the doc about something so personal. I’m grateful my GP had multiple tests taken ASAP – that is the best thing he could have done.

He kai kei ōku ringa

Now, I’m focused on being happy, eating well, and getting enough activity and rest. We, as patients, have the ability to make positive changes that benefit our health and reduce our disease.