My name is Peter Tiffin and I am one of the luckiest people on earth!
I am 53, happily married and have three children under 15 years.
Last year (2013) I was diagnosed with colon cancer, operated on and am currently undergoing chemo therapy.
I have a father who was diagnosed with colon cancer when he was in his 80's but other than that I do not tick any of the "at risk" boxes.
I eat well, I exercise regularly, I don't smoke, I drink in moderation, I am not overly stressed and I had no symptoms and......1.5 years ago I had completed the "box" check and was all clear.
I am fortunate that just over a year ago my sister in law was diagnosed with colon cancer and that my wife had only just recovered from Lymphoma cancer the year before that. Noting that one indicator for susceptibility was a family history, and only narrowly having escaped from the Big C herself, my wife organised for a routine, precautionary, colonoscopy for herself, and to be cautious one for me as well.
It was to our great surprise that my Dr informed us that I, and not my wife, had a polyp. Furthermore it appeared my polyp was suspicious though all indications were that if it was cancerous it was in it's early stages and confined to my colon.
Within the week I was in hospital undergoing surgery for its removal only to find that the cancer, though not yet on the liver or lungs, was on its way to the lymph system having only just broken through the colon wall.
This meant I should, as a sensible measure, undertake 6 months of chemo to improve my chances of non recurrence. I currently have an ileostomy but this should be reversed in a few months.
If I had delayed having a colonoscopy even by just a few months, the prognosis may have been significantly worse and my chances of a cure significantly reduced.
While my sister in law is also the beneficiary of a positive outcome, sadly another friend of mine, also in his 50's, was not so lucky and died during the time I have been doing chemo.
Such a waste he too would still be alive if it had been caught early enough.
This cancer, if caught early enough has a great chance of being cured. The surgery is invasive and significant but the alternative is unacceptable. This cancer, though beatable, is insidious as it does not always provide any clues as to its being in your system.
Since my diagnosis I am on a crusade to try and encourage everyone of 50 years to have a colonoscopy.