GET SUPPORT GET CONNECTED Your Voices Hayley What cancer were you diagnosed with? Stage 3C Colon cancer What age were you diagnosed? 29 What has helped you to thrive? The amount of support I have had since my diagnosis has been amazing! I have been really open with everyone I know and my support network of friends, family and colleagues has been a massive part of my recovery. I have been doing lots of reading on positive mindset and holistic wellbeing which has inspired me to beat cancer and become the best version of myself spiritually, mentally and physically. The care I have received at both Chelsea and Westminster & The Royal Marsden hospital has been second to none, and every healthcare professional has made me feel at ease with my diagnosis and treatment. Speaking to other young cancer patients and hearing the recovery and survival stories of others is also inspirational. I’m determined to ensure that Cancer did not bring me to my knees, it brought me to my feet - it will be a chapter in my and not the whole story! Hayley's Story I had been suffering from bloating and inconsistent bowel movements for years and was always told it was IBS or constipation. In March 2019 I was having excruciating pains on the left side of my abdomen and went to A&E - I was kept in hospital for a week and they couldn’t find anything wrong with me, yet even morphine wasn’t strong enough to keep the pain away. They ended up removing my appendix as a precaution but after surgery said there was nothing wrong with it. After that, every month I had these same pains and kept going to my GP and A&E told it was IBS and prescriber Buscopan and mebeverine. In August I demanded further tests from my GP and the pain had me unable to move for weeks. I did a stool test and when the results came back was told the amount of blood in my stool was off the scale. I was referred for a colonoscopy which happened in October. During my colonoscopy the doctor was unable to get the camera in more than a few inches as there was a stricture (narrowing) in my descending colon. Biopsies were taken and I was told it probably wasn’t cancerous and could be inflammation due to IBD. A week later I was called to the hospital and told it was cancerous and I needed emergency surgery ASAP - the consultant was shocked I hadn’t been rushed in with a completely blocked bowel - that’s how narrow the stricture was! I had a CT and PET scan a few days later too - the cancer had spread to my lymph nodes. I had the left side of my colon removed along wit a golf ball-sized tumour. 5 of the 59 lymph nodes had cancer and so did the surround nerves and blood capillaries meaning my cancer was stage 3C. I am currently undergoing 3 months of chemotherapy to help prevent recurrence. The diagnosis was a massive shock to me and my family, I have no history of cancer in my family at all, I don’t smoke and I’m quite healthy. I have also had genetic testing and do not have any of the genetic predispositions for cancer.