Age at diagnosis: 36

Symptoms: Change in bowel movements, minor blood spotting

Duration of symptoms: Two months

Diagnosis: Stage 3 colon cancer

Treatments: Resection of upper rectum and sigmoid colon. 12 rounds of Folfox chemotherapy.

My story:  I was a fit and healthy, not quite middle aged, guy. I probably would have managed to ignore my symptoms in a manly fashion for longer, except a very good friend of the same age had died from bowel cancer a year earlier so my awareness was raised.

My GP was concerned I’d not get a colonoscopy via the public system, but he was prepared to advocate strongly on my behalf. Luckily I had private health insurance and my colonoscopy happened quickly.

Early detection saved my life, but my window for action from first symptoms was narrow.