Cumbrian woman diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer raises awareness of disease

  • Video report by Ryan Dollard.

A young woman from Cumbria diagnosed with incurable bowel cancer is urging people concerned about their health not to put off a trip to their GP. 

Callie Morris, 29, lost her father to the same disease three years ago and she is determined to use however long she has left to raise awareness.

She received the news that she has stage four colon caner in February - just two weeks after moving in with fiancée, Alexandra Briggs.

Callie Moris was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer in February. Credit: ITV News

She told ITV Border: "I have stage four colon cancer and that has spread to my liver and my lymph nodes and realistically there is not a cure for it. 

"The best case scenario is that the chemotherapy shows positive results in which case surgery could be an option. But that is obviously quite far into the future."

What are the symptoms of bowel cancer?

According to the NHS, more than 90% of people with bowel cancer have 1 of the following combinations of symptoms:

  • a persistent change in bowel habit – pooing more often, with looser, runnier poos and sometimes 

  • blood in the poo without other – this makes it unlikely the cause is haemorrhoids

  • abdominal pain, discomfort or bloating always brought on by eating - sometimes resulting in a reduction in the amount of food eaten and weight loss

Read more about diagnosing bowel cancer on the NHS website.

Callie's dad died of bowel cancer three years ago. Credit: Family photo

Callie lost her dad to bowel cancer three years ago. She said: "I think there should be some system in place where if someone does have a direct relative that has passed away from cancer that there should be some form of testing that is open to that person.

"It could've happened to anybody and surely it would make more sense to be proactive than treating somebody after the fact."

Symptoms include changes to bowel movements and bleeding when visiting the toilet- things many people feel uncomfortable about talking to their GP about.  

Callie and girlfriend Alexandra. Credit: Family photo

Callie's fiancee Alexandra says it's vital to overcome embarrassment and seek help at the earliest opportunity.

"Just don't be embarrassed," she said. "I'll talk about all the taboo subjects, I don't get embarrassed about those kinds of things. But it is really important and if people keep talking it makes things normal, so just keep talking."

Presenter Ian Payne spoke to Genevieve Edwards, the CEO of the charity Bowel Cancer UK, about their efforts to raise awareness about young people being diagnosed with bowel cancer.