Early detection campaign push

By Ashleigh Fielding | posted on September 28, 2019

THE story of Katanning retiree Ruth Aldshead should be a message to all – if you notice something unusual with your body, get it checked out.

Ms Aldshead started experiencing lower abdominal pain, blood in her stool and changes in her bowel movements back in 2010 when she was in her late 70s.

It was her persistence in going to the doctor and returning again when she wasn’t happy with their opinion that eventuated in her bowel cancer diagnosis.

Ms Aldshead was diagnosed with terminal cancer but swift treatment soon after she noticed her unusual symptoms meant she is still enjoying her life today, nine years later.

She urges people to be aware of their bodies and get anything different or unusual checked out straight away.

“I was brought up in the English tradition of ‘just get over it’ but I felt something was wrong,” Ms Aldshead told the Weekender.

“I was terribly healthy, so when I went to the doctor, I didn’t feel strong enough to push it, but a few months later there was more pain and I went back.”

Ms Aldshead admits she’s been very lucky but reiterated how important it is to listen to your body.

“If you’ve got any lumps or bumps or unexplained pain, investigate it,” she said.

“An early notice can mean it’s treated, and it’s gone.”

Ms Aldshead continues to undergo chemotherapy to keep on top of the cancer that “crops up a bit” but maintains her positive attitude by focusing on external interests, such as the growing climate change debate.

The Cancer Council’s Find Cancer Early campaign encourages people to get symptoms checked and look after their bodies.

There are several screening tests available, including a bowel cancer kit for people who do not have any noticeable symptoms for bowel cancer, that could potentially save your life.

Visit findcancerearly.com.au for more information.