I owe my life to Deborah James – she's the reason my bowel cancer has been cured, reveals Abby Cohen | The Sun

RUGBY star Ben Cohen's ex wife Abby has revealed she has been cured of bowel cancer.

The 45-year-old mum of twins was only inspired to get her symptoms checked out after Dame Deborah James raised awareness of the condition.

In May 2023, Abby first received her cancer diagnosis, a "monster within" that left her more terrified than she'd ever been.

She now considers herself "one of the lucky ones," an example of someone who acted on symptoms and got treated quickly.

"I want to show if you act quickly you can be all right," she told MailOnline.

The photographer had experience tiredness and a bit of bloating since the start of the year, which she initially put down to work pressures.

Read more on Deb James

I was fit & healthy at 39 – it’s thanks to Dame Debs my son has his mum

I’m helping raise money to beat bowel cancer, says Deborah James’s daughter, 13

Nonetheless, mindful of the message of the late 'Bowel Babe', Deborah James — who died aged 40 from stage 4 bowel cancer in June 2022, Abby had already visited her GP in January after finding a tiny amount of blood in her stool.

Her doctor put the bleeding down to which you can be prone to after a twin pregnancy.

But one morning in mid-April Abby's symptoms escalated when she felt an intense pain in her bottom while she was driving to a photo shoot.

The pressure grew to the point where she felt like she was going to prolapse.

Most read in Health


From eating bananas to ditching caffeine, 10 ways to cut heart attack risk


Our son's cancer returned for fourth time – we hope to raise £1m for him


Dad ‘foams at the mouth’ & dies while helping son move to university


Shameless star Tina Malone shares secrets to staying trim after 12st weight loss

In agony, she drove to the nearest service station and went to the loo.

In the toilet bowl she saw a huge amount of mucus and blood.

She now knows that the incident was down to a part of her tumour bursting — and what would prove to be the first and last symptom of her cancer.

Again, she admits that Deborah James flashed into her mind, which encouraged her to visit her GP once more.

Several tests and scans revealed Abby had stage 1 adenocarcinoma — the most common of bowel cancers.

This plan involved surgery, which was scheduled for the day before her 45th birthday.

Following the procedure, which left her with a stoma bag, the mum has been given the all-clear.

Abby takes comfort from the fact that from now on she will be on what she calls a "massive surveillance programme", with regular colonoscopies over the next five years, which will then reduce to once every three years.

The 5 early symptoms of bowel cancer you must know

It's important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of bowel cancer.

Spotting any changes to your normal and going to your doctor is vital.

Here are some common symptoms to know:

  1. Bleeding from the back passage, or blood in your poo
  2. A change in your normal toilet habits – going more frequently for example
  3. Pain or a lump in your tummy
  4. Extreme tiredness
  5. Losing weight

Other signs of bowel cancer include:

  • Gripping pains in the abdomen
  • Feeling bloated
  • Constipation and being unable to pass wind
  • Being sick
  • Feeling like you need to strain – like doing a number two – but after you've been to the loo
  • you're aged over 50
  • you have a strong family history of the disease
  • a history of non-cancerous growths, known as polyps, in your bowel
  • long-term inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis
  • type 2 diabetes
  • an unhealthy lifestyle – you smoke, are overweight or obese and do not get enough exercise

The NHS bowel cancer screening programme means DIY tests are available to all those aged 60 to 74 years old.

But thanks to The Sun's No Time 2 Lose campaign, which launched in April 2018, those tests are now being rolled out to people from their 50th birthday.

The Sun campaign, spearheaded by our columnist Dame Deborah James and with the support of leading charity Bowel Cancer UK, called for the screening age to be lowered to 50 – bringing England in line with Scotland.

In the summer of 2018, health secretary Matt Hancock announced screening in England would be lowered to 50 – marking a victory for The Sun and campaigners.

Read More on The Sun

I’m an ex-paramedic – the dangerous food that acts like a plug on a child’s airway

Peter Andre reveals sad ‘real reason’ he never has birthday parties

The roll out is being staggered to include different age groups, but eventually all those aged 50 and over will receive invites in the post.

Source: Read Full Article