Today (4th February 2022) is World Cancer Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness worldwide, improving education and resources for all.  This year’s theme is #CloseTheCareGap, sharing the power of knowledge and how we can all work together to combat the inequities in cancer care around the globe.

We know many of our customers have experienced bowel cancer, and that sometimes it’s hard just to get the conversation started. So, we reached out to ostomate Maryrose, who shares her experience, urging everyone to get their symptoms checked.

Please scroll to the end of the blog for some helpful links. 💚


My bowel cancer story

My journey began in 2012 when I was diagnosed with bowel cancer. I had a rectal prolapse which was completely out of the blue and when this was investigated by doing a colonoscopy, a tumour was found in my colon.

Prior to this I had what I now know was symptoms such as bloating, tummy pain and constipation. I didn’t have any noticeable bleeding until after I had the rectal prolapse, so I put the bleeding down to that rather than anything else.

At the age of 27 this was a shock as surely I was too young to get cancer, right? Wrong! So, I had an operation to remove the cancerous area on the bowel, the sigmoid colon, and had my colon reattached back together. Moving on to February 2019, where I had my second surgery which was an emergency surgery where my bowel was completely enlarged due to ongoing constipation which caused an obstruction in my bowel which needed to be surgically removed. I knew at this stage something just wasn’t right. I was badly constipated, badly bloated and was in pain every day around my tummy area. I just knew there was something that wasn’t right. From here things just seemed to go from bad to worse and on March 2020 I was taken into hospital in excruciating pain due to growths that had reappeared in my bowel. This was when another emergency surgery was performed, and my ileostomy formed.

Waking up with a stoma bag was tough both physically and mentally. I remember looking at the bag attached to my abdomen and thinking how I ended up here. I found it tough to even look at the stoma. When it came to the first bag change, I think I was a bit traumatised and the thought that this was now going to be my life had me feeling very low and I found this hard to accept. At the beginning changing the bag used to give me anxiety.

When I knew I was due a change I would have worried the whole day about having to do it. I hated doing it but slowly but surely, I have learnt my way and I am continuing to learn to accept everything that comes with having a stoma bag. I have learnt that having a stoma bag is not how I thought it would be. There is so many misconceptions out there and that’s why raising awareness is so important.


What’s helped a lot is the products and how much the products have come on. I can easily hide my stoma away and no one would know it’s there unless I told them and do things, I never thought I could do such as swimming and this is a lot to do with the products that are now available.

Cancer does not discriminate… it doesn’t care about your age, gender, background etc which is why I urge anyone having any unfamiliar symptoms to always get checked. No one knows your body better than you do and you may not have all the symptoms or, you could have different symptoms which you should never ignore.


Thank you for reading, Maryrose x



For more information on World Cancer Day, head to their website by clicking here.


 Mary highlights how important it is to get any change to your bowel habit checked, and to reach out to your GP if you have any concerns. There are many amazing organisations available to help if you are looking for more information and support. We have listed some below:

Bowel Cancer UK

Macmillan Cancer Support

Cancer Support UK

NHS find cancer information and support services

Thank you again to Maryrose for sharing your experience with us, from diagnosis to now with your stoma. Make sure to check out Mary’s Instagram page @big_c_stomaandme to keep up to date. 


For more information on our award-winning service, click here or give us a call! If you would like to learn more about our #BeTheChange campaign or get involved click here.

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