A BRAVE mum has posted a picture of her recovering after major surgery for bowel cancer – warning that she mistook early symptoms for drinking too much coffee.
Amanda Cunnington’s snap shows her in a hospital bed following the removal of her colon.
The 47-year-old posted the picture to encourage others to pay more attention to “subtle changes in your health”.
The businesswoman from Bristol started feeling under the weather a year ago but put the feeling down to starting to drink too much coffee.
After surgery on Valentine’s Day, she wrote on February 16: “I wanted to share this with you to highlight the importance of noting subtle changes in your health.
“Two days ago I underwent an operation to remove my colon due to bowel cancer.
“The operation was a success however, as you can see from these photos I had no obvious symptoms usually associated with this condition such as pain, extreme weight loss or anaemia. I was however constipated and my mood had been extremely low for a while.
“However I dismissed the more obvious change in my bowel habits as being down to drinking too much coffee and crucially, I wasn’t noticing blood in my stool as I didn’t realise you need to really look for it!”
She added: “It is great news as my prognosis is good and doctors have said they expect to cure me.
“However, please, if you are currently suffering changes in your bowel habits-perhaps you may be assuming it’s IBS [Irritable Bowel Syndrome] as myself and my doctor first did, please insist you get referred for a colonoscopy.
“It’s quick and simple to do and nothing to be embarrassed about. Crucially It could save your life too.”
Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK and more than nine out of ten cases those who are diagnosed are over 50.
Apart from Scotland, where people are invited to take part in bowel cancer screening when they turn 50, elsewhere in the UK screening is offered to those over 60.
After posting, Amanda received praise for helping to highlight the issue.
Martyn Sloman said: “Hope you are recovering well, good idea to post this!”
Jo Hughes commented: “Amazing you, even in a hospital gown you’re a stunner!”
Liz Davies said: “Holy moly Amanda, get well soon. I’m so glad they’ve got to it fast and it looks good now. Sending you lots of get well wishes.”
Edward John said: “Bloody hell! Wishing you a speedy and full recovery!”
Sean Beardmore commented: “Probably not the easiest post to share! Wishing you a speedy recovery Amanda.”
Dave Sheppard said: “Blimey. Hope you’re on the mend.”
Nicky Marshall commented: “Firstly thank goodness you have a good prognosis Amanda! Thank you for sharing so that other people can take action.”
Amanda said today: “Cancer is evil, it’s insidious. Don’t ignore your bowel habits, your body will always tell you if there’s something wrong. Don’t just assume even if you look ok.
Amanda has also started a fundraiser to raise money for Cancer Research UK, which you can donate here