A young dad has spoken out about his bowel cancer battle as this month sees a charity drive to raise awareness of the disease.
Joel Stern, 30, went into hospital in July 2011 where he was diagnosed with appendicitis and underwent surgery to have his appendix removed.
During the operation doctors discovered a cancerous tumour in his appendix and although it was removed Joel needed more surgery several months later when half of his bowel had to be taken away.
He did not need chemotherapy, although he and wife Rebecca had decided to start a family just in case, and Joel is now the proud father of baby Ethan.
The dad, from Berkhamsted, needs tests every few months, which will continue for five years, to monitor his health.
Joel said: “The whole experience has made me reassess my life, and the best thing of all, is that I have a beautiful wife and little baby boy to come home to.”
He has been working on improving his fitness and last year completed the Great North Run in aid of Bowel Cancer UK.
A new report by the charity has highlighted delays in diagnosing bowel cancer in younger patients.
Charity chief executive Deborah Alsina, said: “It is simply unacceptable that younger bowel cancer patients are experiencing delays in diagnosis because they are considered too young when clearly the statistics prove, whilst rare, it can and does happen.”
To find out more visit www.bowelcanceruk.org.ukaway