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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 October, 2003, 11:06 GMT 12:06 UK
'I didn't realise I had bowel cancer'
Dave Miners
Dave was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year

Dave Miners was diagnosed with bowel cancer in March. The disease has now spread to his liver and lungs.

As the government announces the next step in the implementation of a national screening programme for the disease, the 54-year-old told BBC's Breakfast why people should talk more openly about the disease.

This time last year, Dave had absolutely no idea he had cancer.

He was feeling fine. He was spending much of his free time as usual down on the golf course.

He spent Friday night's playing five-a-side football with his friends.

I had a lot of wind. I was passing mucus and I noticed there were some flecks of blood in it
However, Dave noticed that his some of his bodily functions had started to change slightly.

"At Christmas time last year, I felt just one or two things perhaps weren't quite right with my tummy.

"I had a lot of wind. I was passing mucus and I noticed there were some flecks of blood in it."

After a few weeks, Dave decided to go to his GP for a check-up.

"Just before my wife and I went skiing in March, I had a doctors appointment in my local surgery.

"I really didn't think too much about it. I don't think they thought very much about it either, perhaps piles or whatever, but thought it would be good to have an internal inspection."

Hospital tests

Dave went on his ski holiday. He went to hospital for a sigmoid endoscopy when he arrived back home.

"They put a camera inside your bottom to see what is there.

Dave Miners
Dave still enjoys playing golf
"There was a large tumour. So within eight days of coming back from skiing I was having part of my bowel removed.

"The speed with which I went really from being utterly healthy and normal to being faced with probably less than two years to live was extraordinary.

"The emotional impact. I can barely explain to you. I was absolutely shattered."

Dave is adamant that people should talk about bowel cancer and be aware of possible warning signs.

"It is a hidden disease. You don't necessarily know about it until it is perhaps too late.

"It is a disease which will spread to the liver and to the lungs very quickly. It is vital that it is caught early.

'Afraid to talk'

"I am passionate that there should be more publicity about it.

The speed with which I went really from being utterly healthy and normal to being faced with probably less than two years to live was extraordinary
"We shouldn't be afraid to talk about it there should be much greater awareness of the dangers to us all.

"If we can get over to the proportion of the population and remember this is male and female to just be aware of the bodily functions - be aware of the bottom; be aware of your stools; be aware of the problems that could be lurking.

"I am absolutely convinced that we don't talk about bowel cancer because of the English reticence, the British stiff upper lip.

"It is something that we don't want to talk about or think about," he says.

"We have to be, otherwise 16,000 people will die next year, and the year after that, and the year after that."




WATCH AND LISTEN
Colon cancer sufferer, Dave Miners
"Just be aware of the bodily functions"



SEE ALSO:
Gene hope in colon cancer
04 May 03  |  Health
Bowel cancer screening planned
04 Feb 03  |  Health


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