Mum speaks out after incurable cancer diagnosis at young age
PUBLISHED: 08:36 03 March 2020 | UPDATED: 11:22 04 March 2020
A mum from Saffron Walden was only 35 years old when she was diagnosed with incurable bowel cancer.
Saffron Walden resident Leigh Game, 37, first noticed things were not quite right health-wise in October 2017, when she was having more frequent trips to the toilet and was feeling bloated. As she was going through a stressful period of her life, she put it down to stress and anxiety, but getting abdominal pain and a rise in temperature in January 2018 prompted her to have it checked out by the GP.
Speaking about the stage four diagnosis, she said: "The point in which it has been discovered, I had the primary tumour removed as an emergency, but by that time it had already spread to my liver and into the lining that goes into the stomach, so it was already quite advanced. It spread from its initial location and metastasised. At the time they didn't feel that surgery was an option.
"It feels like your whole world is falling apart. There is a certain element of shock and disbelief it takes a few days for it to sink in. You immediately think it is a death sentence. It is only several months later when you have a plan of action that you start coming to terms with it, but I am not sure that I really have."
Leigh says the news about her incurable cancer has 'hugely impacted her day to day life', but she tries to make every day count together with her children, Alfie (3) and Elouise (7), and husband, Tom. Due to her age, she did not expect this diagnosis, and neither did the doctors.
"It was a shock to everyone," Leigh said.
In an attempt to raise awareness of the condition, especially among younger people who may not expect such a diagnosis in their early lives, she has gotten involved with Bowel Cancer UK, a charity with a variety of campaigns, including Never Too Young.
She says the campaign is "something that means a lot to her". "You'd hope it is never something as sinister as that, but sadly it doesn't matter how old or young you are, it is something that can affect you even at a young age."
Leigh says the charity also wants to "make people talk about their toilet habits", as this "might be what is holding them back from going to the doctors" and "the difference between saving people's lives or not".
Currently, the National Health Service screening starts at 60, but Bowel Cancer UK plans to start screening at 50, which is a start, according to Leigh. Leigh's sister, Helen Edwards, 40, from Saffron Walden, will be running the London Landmarks Half Marathon on Sunday, March 29 to raise funds for Bowel Cancer UK.
Helen said: "When Leigh received her diagnosis our family were devastated. You hear awful stories of things like this happening to other people but you don't think it will ever be your family, your younger sister who is affected. As a family, we try to support Leigh, her husband and her children as much as we can, but the reality is there is nothing we can do to change Leigh's prognosis. By taking part in fundraisers like this run, I feel I am able to do something positive which can make a difference to this charity and people suffering like Leigh."
If you would like to make a donation, please go to justgiving.com/fundraising/helen-edwardslg.