Interview 44

Age at interview: 67
Brief Outline: He had a Faecal Occult Blood (FOB) test in 2001. The result was abnormal so he had a colonoscopy. Cancer was diagnosed, so later he had part of his bowel removed, followed by chemotherapy. He feels well now.
Background: A white British man, a retired carpenter/joiner, married, 1 child.

More about me...

He was screened for bowel cancer and had a Faecal Occult Blood (FOB) test in February 2001. The result was abnormal so he had a colonoscopy. He had no symptoms, but during the colonoscopy cancer of the bowel was diagnosed. In April 2001 he had surgery and about eight inches of the bowel was removed. In July he started weekly chemotherapy, which continued for thirty weeks. Since then he has had two colonoscopies and regular blood tests, scans and Xray's. There is no evidence of any recurrence and he feels well.


He had chemotherapy after his surgery for bowel cancer.

To go back to the treatment. You said you had to have a little bit of chemotherapy just to make sure'

Husband' Chemotherapy yes.

'that they'd picked up everything. How long did you, when did you start that, after the operation? How many weeks?

Wife' About six months it was. No it wasn't as long as that. It was after we came back off our summer holidays, so it would be about July or August.

Husband' Right, July or August.

Wife' Of 2001.

Husband' Of 2001.

So what month was the operation?

Wife' April.

Husband' April.


Wife' St. George's Day.

Okay, so it was just a few months later you started with chemotherapy?

Husband' That's right yes.

Do you mind saying a bit more about the chemotherapy?

Husband' The chemotherapy, it's straightforward. They put a, a shunt in the back of your hand, just like a saline drip they put into you, but obviously its not a saline, its some special fluid they, and it runs into the back of your hand for about fifteen to twenty minutes. A small bag. And that's all there is to it really.

Did you go as a day patient?

Husband' A day patient yes. I had'a half past nine slot on every Friday or something like that.

Every Friday?

Husband' Was it Friday?

Or once a week?

Husband' Once a week, yeah. Once a week for thirty weeks.

To go back again to the chemotherapy. Did you have any side effects of the chemotherapy?

Husband' It felt, you were a bit queasy with it, for two or three days, and I was a little bit sick for about'three times after it. Other than that I don't see any problems whatsoever.


The first dose of laxatives was not too bad but the second made him sick as well as giving him...

Husband' The preparation for the colonoscopy came in the post. It comes in the form of two or three packages, which you have to take over a period of time. And, the first part of it isn't too bad. But the second part, the Picolax, I mean you're never clear of the loo. And sometimes it can affect you on both ends, you can be sick with it as well. Actually, I think that was the worst part of the whole thing, it was taking this Picolax and cleaning yourself out. It's even worse than the operation. The first time round it was. 

Were you sick?

Husband' Oh I was sick with it yes.

Oh dear.

Husband' Because, I think, they say you can, the Picolax you can flavour it with orange or something like that to take the, which I did, and I think maybe that was the wrong thing. You're better off just taking it as it is.

Wife' Made with water.

Husband' With the water.

What does it taste like?

Husband' It's unbelievable really, no, it's not nice, I can't explain it really, you'll have to taste it yourself to think what it tastes like. It's nothing like I've ever had before.

It made you feel, it made you sick?

Husband' Oh it made me sick and I was never clear of the loo. Towards the latter stages of it, when you're more or less empty, you have to be really adjacent to the loo, else you can make a mistake. You can't get there quick enough.

It must have been difficult.

Husband' Oh it is, it is quite difficult. I mean that's probably one of the worst parts about it, and even since I've had another colonoscopy since, it's not the best of things to do. But I mean it's a case of having to clear the bowel completely out, so they can see what's, when they get that camera going to see where they are going.

And did you have to have an enema too?

Husband' No.

No enema?

Husband' No. This Picolax does the job.

Husband' It clears everything, it just.


Husband' I don't deny it, I wouldn't say it's like pebble dashing the wall, but it's similar.


He was told that he might need a stoma bag for a few months but in the end he didn't.

Did he [the surgeon] give you plenty of information at that stage about what was going to happen?

He did tell us that the outcome of the operation, he said you'll have so much of the bowel removed, and it's a possibility you'll have to end up with a stoma bag for a few months. Which he said, 'They pull a bit of the small intestine out, and connect it to the bag, which is on a belt around you.' And then he said, 'After the bowel has calmed down, they will reverse that,' ...which you know, after the operation I had, I didn't have a stoma. So I was quite happy about that really, it didn't work out that way for me.


The surgeon told him that if he hadn't taken part in screening the cancer would have spread and...

So looking back, what's your view of the whole national screening programme?

Husband' Well I think it's wonderful. It's a wonderful thing for, it must be saving the country a lot of money really. In a way. Although its costing a bit, but the outcome of it is that you're saving the country money, because if people develop bowel cancer, the after care is going to cost more than what the operation would itself.

And can you say again what your surgeon said that if you hadn't been screened, what would have happened?

Husband' Well the surgeon told me bluntly that if I hadn't been screened, that in another six to twelve months down the line, it would have been into the rest of my body and the outcome of that would've been very bad.

So for you it was a good thing you went ahead and were screened.

Husband' Yes, wonderful really. I've got no complaints about it whatsoever. It's probably one of the best things that has happened to me really. 

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