Profile: Helen's bowel cancer story
Helen from Dublin was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2005. Nine years later she volunteers on Daffodil Day and at Irish Cancer Society Daffodil Centres. This is her story:
"I was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2005. I had been experiencing symptoms for over a year before I visited my GP. I never thought it could be cancer and I was busy working and living my life so I kept putting it off.
"Eventually I mentioned my symptoms to my GP on a routine visit, and she referred me for a colonoscopy, a simple procedure which examines the inside of the bowel.
"I was diagnosed with bowel cancer shortly afterwards after tumours were found on my bowel during the procedure. I was referred for surgery where any cancerous area of my colon was removed. I had an ileostomy bag inserted which connects to the small intestine. It took me a while to get my head around this but I have a good attitude to it now.
"I am a volunteer in one of the Irish Cancer Society’s Daffodil Centres which are located on site in hospitals. Daffodil Centres are often the first place a person visits after they have been diagnosed. I am also a Survivor Support volunteer where I meet with newly diagnosed bowel cancer patients who have a similar diagnosis to mine, and I offer practical information and support.
"Bowel cancer is very treatable but you need to catch it early. If you’re worried, just get yourself checked out."
Concerned about bowel cancer? Read more about the signs and symptoms.