Cancer survivor urges older people to take life-saving bowel screening tests

A CANCER survivor is urging older people to take a bowel screening test at the earliest opportunity because it could save their life – just like it did for him.

Phil Paddison, 57, became eligible for the test after the age for screening in Wales was lowered in October 2022 from 58 to 55, (after originally starting from age 60).

PICTURED: Phil Paddison.

After a test detected blood in his faeces, Phil underwent a colonoscopy in Morriston Hospital which confirmed he had colon cancer.

Two months later, an operation to remove the cancer was successful and Phil is back to living life as normal.

However, it could have been a far different outcome if it hadn’t been for his wife’s persistence.

Phil, from Swansea, is now keen to spread the word himself to anyone eligible to undergo the screening test.

Since his operation in June last year, the age for screening in Wales has dropped even further to 51. People aged between 51 and 74 are now invited to take the test every two years.

Phil said: “After I became eligible, I was sent a test but, being a typical man I kept putting it off because I thought nothing was wrong.

“My wife Debra was always asking if I’d done the test, and one day I walked into the bathroom and she’d placed the test on the toilet seat.

“I did it, sent it off, and that’s where my cancer journey began.

“If Debra hadn’t persisted in me doing it – and the age hadn’t dropped to enable me to do it – then I honestly don’t think I’d be here to talk about it.

PICTURED: Phil with staff from Ward 2 in Singleton Hospital.

“The bowel screening test saved my life, and I have my wife to thank for that.”

Bowel screening tests are offered by Public Health Wales for anyone aged between 51 and 74 who live in Wales and are registered with a GP in the country.

It aims to find cancer at an early stage when treatment is likely to be more effective. Early detection is key, with around at least nine out of 10 people surviving bowel cancer if it’s found and treated early.

The test kit is designed to measure how much blood is in your faeces and can be completed at home, with results returned within two weeks.

Six months on from his operation, Phil was back in work driving heavy good vehicles.

While he is now looking forward, the care, professionalism and camaraderie afforded to him has left its mark.

Phil said: “I had CT and MRI scans in Neath Port Talbot Hospital, a colonoscopy in Morriston and for my operation I spent four days in Ward 2 in Singleton. I can’t thank the staff enough for how they treated me in those hospitals.

“From the janitors to the consultants, they were so caring and professional. I had such a good laugh with the nurses and a few other men on the ward. The banter was incredible.

PICTURED: Phil with Clive Davies, managing director of John Pearce Transport Glynneath Limited.

“Laughter is important at a time like that because it changes your focus and mood.

“But the care they gave me was fantastic. I felt I was being monitored constantly, which is reassuring and is something I’ll forever be grateful for.

“I had fantastic support from my parents, father-in-law, friends and neighbours, but Debra has been my rock throughout.

“The emotional stress, the operation and the recovery were of course very difficult times, but the toughest part of it all was telling her that I had cancer in the first place.

“There is no right or wrong way to tell your wife that you have cancer, and it’s what I found the most difficult aspect of it. She had so many questions, but I could answer them because the information I was given was so clear.”

To further cement his gratitude, Phil recently returned to Singleton Hospital to thank staff personally and hand over a donation of £700 to Ward 2 courtesy of his employers.

The money will be used to purchase radios for patients so they can listen to sports commentary and music, along with weighing scales.

Clive Davies, managing director of John Pearce Transport Glynneath Limited, said: “We make numerous charity donations throughout the year but at Christmas we try to support local charities that have had a direct impact on members of our staff.

“We raised the money through a raffle and really wanted the money to benefit a charity locally.

“Phil was in touch throughout his treatment and regularly mentioned the fabulous treatment that he received from Ward 2, so we decided to donate the money to the ward via Swansea Bay Health Charity.”

For more information, visit the charity’s website:
You can also follow the charity on Facebook:

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