When John Rogerson received a bowel cancer testing kit through the post shortly after his 60th birthday, he initially put it to one side and forgot all about it.
It was only when he was sent a reminder that his memory was jogged and he decided to carry out the test even though he never imagined bowel cancer was a worry.
I had no symptoms of anything wrong whatsoever, no family history of bowel cancer and we eat quite sensibly so bowel cancer was the last thing on my mindJohn Rogerson
John, now 65, who is married to Sue and lives in Barton, explains: “I had no symptoms of anything wrong whatsoever, no family history of bowel cancer and we eat quite sensibly so bowel cancer was the last thing on my mind.
“But I thought: ‘Why not?’ and did the test as it is a service provided by the NHS.”
John’s test came back as clear and when he was 62, he did another test and this was also fine. However, when he completed the routine kit after his 64th birthday, things were not as straightforward.
John, a retired freelance IT management consultant, recalls: “I received a letter telling me the results weren’t clear.”
John was asked to complete a second test and was then invited for a colonoscopy to look inside his bowel and an early stage cancer was found, as well as several pre-cancerous growths called polyps.
The father-of-two, who has four grandchildren, was booked in for keyhole surgery.
A section of his bowel was removed, but he didn’t need further treatment as the cancer had been caught at the earliest stage possible and was the size of a pea.
“It was cancer, but because it had not had the chance to grow, it had not spread and doctors told me they caught it at the earliest possible chance,” he said.
John, who now works as a magistrate in Preston, is supporting a new Cancer Research UK awareness campaign launched in Lancashire.
The campaign highlights the role of screening in helping to save lives like his.
The campaign is aimed at men and women aged 60 to 74 to encourage them to take part in the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening programme.
People in this age bracket receive an NHS bowel cancer screening kit through the post, every two years.
The advert is designed to help them understand what bowel cancer screening means for them.
Bowel cancer screening is a simple and private test that can be done at home and is designed to detect the early signs of bowel cancer.
Posters will feature in newspaper adverts and on buses, bus stops and phone boxes across Lancashire.
John made a good recovery from the surgery and had more polyps removed over the summer, but they didn’t show any signs of cancer. He will need another routine check-up in December.
He hopes the posters will help encourage more people to take par in the screening. He says: “I know from personal experience that bowel cancer screening really can save lives.
“I hope people will read my personal story and when they receive the kit they will be encouraged to complete it and send it back.