Colorectal Cancer

Stephen

Male
Age at interview: 19
Age at diagnosis: 15

Brief outline: In 2010 Stephen was diagnosed with bowel cancer. He had a hemicolectomy to remove the tumour, and chemotherapy, but a tumour appeared in his left leg. He had more surgery and radiotherapy but tumours were found in his pelvis and chest, making it incurable.

Background: Stephen is a student. Recently he has spent most of his time raising funds for the Teenage Cancer Trust. He is single. Ethnic background/nationality: White British.

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In 2010, when Stephen was aged 15, he developed symptoms, including fatigue, weight loss, blood in his stools, and abdominal pain. He went to see his GP on numerous occasions, and also visited A and E, but was told his problem was constipation. After six months of debilitating symptoms he went into A and E in great pain, and was taken to theatre for surgery. Only then was he was diagnosed with bowel cancer. He had a hemicolectomy to remove the tumour, and then six months of chemotherapy.  During this time Stephen continued his studies whenever possible, and achieved excellent grades in his GCSE exams.  When he had the energy he did as much sport as he could. 

After a short period when the cancer seemed to be in remission, Stephen found a lump in his left leg, behind his knee, and in December 2011 his doctor told him that the cancer had spread.  He had more surgery to remove the lump from his leg and 30 sessions of radiotherapy.  In May 2012 it became clear that the cancer had returned, so Stephen underwent more chemotherapy.  At that point doctors were discussing the possible amputation of Stephen’s leg, but before they could perform that surgery the cancer had spread to Stephen’s pelvis. Stephen had more surgery to remove the lymph nodes in his pelvis, and more chemotherapy, including isolated limb perfusion chemotherapy. Despite all this treatment the cancer spread further. Recent scans show that it has spread to the wall of Stephen’s chest. His pain is quiet well controlled with morphine and other drugs. 

Throughout all this time Stephen has done his best to keep up with his studies, to remain positive, and to enjoy living.  In January 2013 he started a Facebook page.  He made a ‘Bucketlist’ of 46 things he wanted to do or achieve. This included writing a book, and organizing a skydive and a party and many other events in aid of charity. He has given numerous talks, including one at the O2 Arena in front of 4,000 people.  With help from others Stephen has collected over £560,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust. 

Soon after this interview Stephen had breathing difficulties and went into hospital. He returned home for a short while but sadly he died soon afterwards. During that time he collected over 4 million pounds for the Teenage Cancer Trust. He was awarded a posthumous MBE.

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