“I waited over two years before speaking up. Don’t do this,” said Robbie Barnes of his bowel cancer diagnosis at the age of 37.
Robbie was diagnosed with stage three bowel cancer in May this year when a 61-millimetre tumour was found during an endoscopy and colonoscopy.
“I was shocked but glad to know what was wrong,” he said.
“I was confident with the treatment plan set out for me by Westmead and Blacktown hospitals.”
Robbie’s early bowel cancer symptoms were blood in stools, a significant change in bowel habits, constant fatigue, a swollen abdomen and weight loss. Now he’s urging others to reach out at the first sign something could be wrong.
“Get help immediately,” he stressed.
Robbie’s treatment is currently being shared between both Westmead and Blacktown hospitals for chemotherapy and radiation.
“I was quite nervous before starting any treatment but the level of support and understanding from Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) staff has made this a much better experience,” he said.
As for Robbie’s health now he said “It’s too early to tell. I’ve completed six weeks of radiation and am about to start three months of chemotherapy”.
Following this, he will require two to three surgeries depending on how the tumour responds.
Robbie encourages others to keep on top of their health checks and sends a big thank you to all WSLHD staff for “happily and clearly answering all of my questions before, during and after my treatments”.