A cancer survivor from Cheshire has highlighted the reality that some people still manage to survive even if they have been told their diagnosis is terminal.
Jenny Sumner, a 34-year-old florist from Chester, first visited her doctor in 2020 with what she thought was irritable bowel syndrome. However, after “excruciating” symptoms persisted she had a hospital scan in October that year, which revealed a 10cm inch tumour. Further checks showed the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes.
Medics gave her a terminal diagnosis, but after a course of chemotherapy and radiotherapy that started in November 2020 she made a complete recovery and been given the all-clear in July last year. She has since been involved in sponsored runs in aid of Cancer Research, including one 100-mile event.
Speaking to Cheshire Live, Ms Sumner said: “I went through all the treatment and managed to get rid of it. It was last July when I actually got the all clear.”
She added: “I was responding really well to treatment and I am really lucky to still be here. It’s been a rollercoaster.”
Ms Sumner noted that the symptoms she had, including blood in her stools, were similar to those experienced by the late Dame Deborah James, the ‘You, me and the Big C’ podcast host who recently died of the disease at the age of 40.
While this particular case did not end in an early death, the need to identify early signs of the disease is usually the key to survival.
This was a point made by Dame Deborah, whose efforts to overcome stigma about bowel movements included using the nickname ‘bowelbabe’ and even once dressing up as a giant poo.
Ms Sumner was in no doubt about the importance of this, commenting: “Do not hesitate to go to the doctor, no matter how embarrassed you are. I pushed as hard as I could.”