Rugby star Ben Cohen’s ex-wife Abby has revealed that she has been cured of colon cancer.
The 45-year-old mother of twins was only inspired to get her symptoms checked after Dame Deborah James alerted her to the condition.
In May 2023, Abby was first diagnosed with cancer, an “inner monster” that scared her more than ever.
She now considers herself “one of the lucky ones”, an example of someone who responded to the symptoms and was treated quickly.
“I want to show that everything can be okay if you act quickly,” she said MailOnline.
The photographer had been suffering from fatigue and mild gas since the beginning of the year, which she initially attributed to the pressure of work.
Still, conscious of the message of the late “Bowel Babe” Deborah James, who died in June 2022 at the age of 40 from stage IV colon cancer, Abby went to her GP back in January after finding a tiny amount of blood in her stool had.
Her doctor introduced the bleeding that one can be prone to after a twin pregnancy.
But one morning in mid-April, Abby’s symptoms worsened when she experienced severe pain in her buttocks while driving to a photo shoot.
The pressure grew so much that she felt like she was about to prolapse.
In pain, she drove to the nearest gas station and went to the toilet.
She saw a large amount of mucus and blood in the toilet bowl.
She now knows the incident was due to part of her tumor rupturing – and what would turn out to be the first and last symptom of her cancer.
Again, she admits that Deborah James came to her mind, which encouraged her to see her GP again.
Multiple tests and scans revealed Abby had stage 1 adenocarcinoma — the most common type of colon cancer.
This plan included an operation scheduled for the day before her 45th birthday.
After the procedure, during which she wore a stoma bag, the mother received the all-clear.
Abby consoles herself with the fact that from now on she will be enrolled in what she calls a “massive surveillance program” with regular colonoscopies for the next five years, which will then drop to every three years.
The 5 Early Symptoms of Colon Cancer You Need to Know
It’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of colon cancer.
It is important that you recognize any changes in your normal condition and see your doctor.
Here are some common symptoms you should be aware of:
- Bleeding from the anus or blood in the stool
- A change in your normal toilet habits – such as walking more often
- Pain or a lump in your abdomen
- Extreme tiredness
- lose weight
Other signs of colon cancer are:
- Gripping pains in abdomen
- constipation and bloating
- Be sick
- The feeling that you have to make an effort – like number two – but after you’ve been to the toilet
- You are over 50 years old
- You have a strong family history of the disease
- a history of non-cancerous growths called polyps in your gut
- chronic inflammatory bowel diseases 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 colorectal cancer screening program means DIY tests are available to everyone aged 60-74.
But thanks to The Sun’s No Time 2 Lose campaign, which launched in April 2018, these tests are now being rolled out to people over their 50th birthday.
The Sun campaign, led by our columnist Dame Deborah James and with support from leading charity Bowel Cancer UK, has 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 that screening tests in England would be reduced to 50 – a victory for The Sun and its campaigners.
The rollout will be staggered to accommodate different age groups, but eventually everyone over 50 will receive an invitation in the mail.