When dad Rob Gore started losing weight he thought it was down to stress and not eating properly.
But when relatives of the 38-year-old noticed just how much weight he had lost they urged him to seek medical help and he was sent for tests.
Rob, who has a four-year-old daughter and two stepsons, was given the devastating news he had bowel cancer.
The dad, who is married to Kirsty and lives in Warrington, is telling his story to mark this year’s Bowel Cancer Awareness Month.
The campaign takes places during April to raise awareness of the condition and its symptoms and encourage anyone who is concerned to seek medical assistance.
Rob told the Liverpool Echo
“We put it down to stress at work, not eating right and maybe too much alcohol. But Kirsty booked me an appointment anyway.”
The test discovered cancer in Rob’s bowel, along with nodules on his liver and lung.
He said: “By the time I received my diagnosis, I’d resigned myself to the fact it was serious.
“Kirsty was obviously devastated. I think my positive attitude throughout all this has really helped her.
“If I stay positive, it puts her mind at rest. The kids have taken all of this in their stride.
“In the beginning, they were always asking if they could help me. They’re amazing and took to these changes in our family like ducks to water.”
Rob was fitted with a stoma bag and began six rounds of chemotherapy in March 2019.
Two years after his diagnosis, he continues to receive chemotherapy and had successful surgery to his liver in December 2020.
“The future looks good, and I’m recovering well from my surgery and the treatment I’m having,” he said.
“I trust the teams looking after me implicitly. They know what they’re doing and I’m in the very best hands with the NHS.
“Never have I wanted to give up – this cancer is more of an inconvenience than anything and I just take every day as it comes.
“My family sometimes joke that I talk about my cancer too much but talking about it openly helps me and hopefully helps my family if they see me being positive about it. It’s them that keep me going.”
Dr Danielle Shaw, Consultant in Medical Oncology at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust, who has led Rob’s care, said: “I’m delighted that Rob has such a strong support network around him and them noticing his weight loss and booking an appointment with his GP was a vital first step in his diagnosis.
“Cancer care remains a priority for the NHS. If you have symptoms you’re worried about that persist for three weeks or more, please go and see your GP as Rob did.
“Blood when you go to the toilet, persistent pains in your stomach or sudden weight loss could be a sign of bowel cancer but the earlier it is seen to, the more treatable it is.”