Chris had been experiencing pain in his bowel and signs of blood for a while before he went to the GP about his symptoms. He said it was fear that stopped him going to see the GP earlier.
After having examinations, blood tests and a colonoscopy, Chris’ doctor gave him the devastating news that he had colon cancer. Assuming the worst, Chris said when he got the diagnosis, he stopped making plans for his future.
Chris’ doctor at The Royal Albert Edward Infirmary in Wigan referred him to the Colorectal and Peritoneal Oncology Centre (CPOC) at The Christie. CPOC has an international reputation for treating advanced and early colorectal cancer, appendix tumours, peritoneal tumours, anal cancer and tumours within the pelvis.
At The Christie, Chris received chemotherapy and radiotherapy under the guidance of Dr Claire Arthur (consultant clinical oncologist). After the chemotherapy and radiotherapy, Chris had surgery under the care of Mr Jonathan Wild (consultant colorectal and peritoneal surgeon) and Mr Jeremy Oates (consultant urological surgeon).
Chris said the surgery was a frightening experience for him as he had never had surgery or spent a night in hospital before. However, the professionalism and care of the teams meant he felt at ease and supported, and he knew he was in great hands.
As part of his treatment, Chris needed a full pelvic clearance. This meant he needed a urostomy and colostomy bag for the rest of his life. This was obviously daunting for Chris as it would be life-changing and at first, he didn’t think he would be able to cope. But Chris said he kept reminding himself that the most important thing was that he still had a life – and his family still had him with them.
After several weeks at The Christie, Chris was relieved to go home. His treatment took place during the COVID-19 pandemic meaning no visitors during his hospital stay. This made his stay quite a challenge.