“A diagnosis of stage 4 bowel cancer doesn’t have to be the end of your life, it can be the reason to start living it”
“I’m in my early 50s and blessed with lots of great friends. I’m an active person who enjoys exercise including yoga and I run my own small business.
I was diagnosed with Stage 4 bowel cancer (T3 N0 M1) in May 2013 and had fast-growing secondaries in my liver and both lungs. I had an operation to remove the large primary tumour and then aggressive chemotherapy for 6 months which was very successful, after this my liver and one lung were clear, the other lung had just three small spots. The planned surgery for my lung metastases was cancelled following the success of my chemo. I’m very lucky.
I started on long-term maintenance chemotherapy in January 2014 which is keeping things under control, I’ve been told I’m on this for life. I have a CT scan every 3 months as I’m on active treatment.
I hope that my experience since my diagnosis helps to show that cancer, even advanced cancer, is becoming more of a long-term condition which we can live with.
Throughout my treatment I’ve tried to maintain a positive outlook and my chemo nurses reckon that’s made a big difference to my response to chemo. I’ve also tried to continue living a ‘normal’ life – working, socialising and also traveling a lot! I’ve travelled throughout Europe and been to the US several times since I was diagnosed. I’ve even been to Bali recently!
Late in 2015 my oncologist told me my prognosis was probably no more than 3 years (around 5.5 years in total), I’m definitely beating that! Recently we had the conversation again and he estimates another 1-2 years. Obviously, I’m aiming to live longer than that but I’ve drawn up a bucket list and am making the most of my time by enjoying ticking things off the list with my friends and family!
In May 2017 I had the first proper recurrence of the cancer, a lung metastasis which has been successfully treated with radio frequency ablation (RFA). Awaiting my follow up CT in July to plan next steps in my treatment.
I’m proud to represent Beating Bowel Cancer as a Patient Voice, Forum Moderator, campaigner and fundraiser.”
In 2016 Steve received the Beating Bowel Cancer Annual Achievement Award, the citation was
“for everything you do to help others”.
Here’s an outline of some of the activities Steve has carried out to help people with bowel cancer since his diagnosis:
As a Forum Moderator, Steve is part of the small team that helps to keep the forum a safe place for everyone, as well as offering advice and support whenever possible. He has made over 3,000 posts to date.
Via the charity’s Nurse Helpline, Steve offers telephone support and advice to patients who need to speak with someone who has been through the same as them. This includes people struggling with their diagnosis or who find the prospect of long term maintenance chemotherapy daunting.
Steve has also helped to write updates of patient information booklets and factsheets, including introducing advice on ‘how to get the most from your chemo’.
Representing Bowel Cancer Patients
In May 2017, Steve was a guest speaker at the inaugural IMPACT Initiative meeting (Improving Management of Patients with Advanced Colorectal Tumours), a medical conference organised by the Association of Coloproctology of Great Britain and Ireland. Here Steve presented on gaps in care and how they can be bridged.
In 2016 he was a panellist in a discussion at the European Patient Forum, a pharmaceutical industry event aimed at identifying how the industry supports patients.
Steve has also presented to two pharmaceutical companies who work in bowel cancer care to give them insight into what it is like being a person with advanced bowel cancer and what they can do to offer more support.
Steve met with The Right Honourable Theresa May MP just before she became Prime Minister to discuss the needs of bowel cancer patients.
Bowel Cancer Awareness
Steve has supported several media campaigns from Beating Bowel Cancer including improving access to innovative treatments, importance of early diagnosis and encouraging men to discuss their symptoms, these have featured in local newspapers, The Sunday Times and on local radio.
Steve gives short presentations to help raise the profile of bowel cancer.
Thanks to the generosity of his friends, since diagnosis Steve has raised more than £12,000 via specially organised events such as yoga workshops, spinathons, choir concerts and sponsored beard growing (Decembeard).
Here are some of Steve’s achievements in the four years since he was diagnosed. These are included here to emphasise that being diagnosed with Stage 4 bowel cancer doesn’t have to mean the end of life, far from it!
Came through major bowel surgery
Managed the intense stage of chemo bang on schedule
Launched a new company whilst on chemo
Developed much better relationship skills – closer than ever to friends and family
Adopted his lovely dog Pippa
Survived getting hit by a Porsche and the two major surgeries that followed
Recipient of Annual Achievement Award
“Enjoyed myself doing nothing (especially having cuddles on the sofa with Pips of course)”
Trained and qualified as a Yoga Teacher
Passed his Red Belt in the Budokon Mixed Martial Arts programme
Attended two House of Commons receptions on behalf of bowel cancer patients
Got involved with the charity Beating Bowel Cancer – volunteer moderator on the patient forum and Patient Voice to raise awareness of the disease. Given numerous talks and had articles in the local and national press and mags
Raised over £12k so far for Beating Bowel Cancer
Travelled throughout UK and Europe plus went to the US at least 6 times as well as a yoga holiday in Bali