Home test kit helps detect bowel cancer the size of a fingernail
- Credit: My WiSH Charity
A teaching assistant from Bury St Edmunds has urged people eligible to take bowel cancer tests at home, after it detected the cancer in her mother at an early stage.
Following the results of a home stool test Donna Hazell's mother Sue Hazell, 63, underwent a scan and colonoscopy which revealed a tumor the size of a little finger nail in her bowel.
The bowel testing kits are sent through the post to people aged between 60 and 74 years old.
Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer and the second biggest cancer killer with survival chances dropping significantly if not picked up at the earliest stage.
Donna, 36, said: "It costs nothing to take the test but so many people do not take it."
"It will catch any issues very early and it's really important to do it."
Sue, who also lives in Bury St Edmunds, went on to have chemotherapy - which was a particularly challenging time for the family, as due to the coronavirus pandemic, only her husband John Hazell was able to visit her.
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Donna said: "Mum suffered all possible side effects and was in a really bad way.
"She ended up spending five weeks on the Macmillan Ward and was very lucky to be able to come home again."
As a way of thanking the team on the Macmillan Ward that cared for her mother, Donna and her partner Peter Curson undertook a fundraising challenge where they walked, cycled and ran 800 miles.
Initially, the couple aimed to complete 500 miles - the distance between Bury St Edmunds and Weymouth, where Sue and Mr Hazell usually enjoy visiting each summer.
The couple's 800 mile trek raised £761 for the My WiSH Charity - with the money directed towards the Macmillan Unit at West Suffolk Hospital.
Sally Daniels, fundraising manager for the My WiSH charity said: "Not only have they raised money which will benefit others needing to use the cancer services at West Suffolk Hospital, Donna and Sue are highlighting how this simple yet vital test can save lives.
"The test arrives on your doorstep when you are 60 and we urge people to complete and return it as, as this story shows, it really does save lives."
You can find out more about the bowel cancer screening program in England on the Cancer Research UK website cancerresearchuk.org.