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Meet Jill.

Jill, 73, volunteers with daughter Christine at our shop in Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan. Read how Jill believes her daughter’s concern, and the swift actions of her GP, saved her life.

When consultants diagnosed Jill, 73, with bowel cancer, she was relieved it had been caught early. She was also grateful her daughter had urged her to go to the GP when she started feeling breathless.

The dedicated mum and daughter volunteer side by side at our Penarth shop in the Vale of Glamorgan, something they both love doing to “give back to their community.”

Jill explains:

I suppose we are a bit of a double act – we work together upstairs in the stock room. I’m on the steamer, and Chris will sort, tag and price up items for the shop front, said Jill.

Volunteering with Tenovus Cancer Care has a real feel-good factor about it, and we enjoy what we do at the shop together for two afternoons a week.”

Jill had started to feel more breathless than normal in December 2021. Christine was concerned about her mum and urged her to see the doctor. Jill reluctantly made an appointment, but says she wasn’t too worried at the time.

I’d just put the breathlessness down to my age, and not being physically fit, but Chris was worried, so I made the appointment. I saw a locum at the surgery, who was onto it straight away. I believe a combination of Christine’s concern, and the swift actions of that locum, saved my life.”

Jill’s doctor referred her for a blood test. The results showed she had anaemia, not usually a red flag symptom for bowel cancer, but her doctor thought the underlying cause of the anaemia needed to be explored further.

Gill was sent for more tests - including an endoscopy and a colonoscopy – and a few weeks later was diagnosed with early-stage bowel cancer.

I was shocked. The shortness of breath was caused by the anaemia, but that was being caused by an internal bleed, resulting from cancer.

I hadn’t experienced any red flag symptoms for bowel cancer, and my last bowel screening test was negative. I just didn’t link my breathlessness with cancer.

It is possible to treat cancer successfully, if caught early enough, and I’d encourage everyone to get screened regularly. It’s important to prioritise health, and act quickly if something seems off.”

Jill had surgery following her diagnosis and was overjoyed when her medical team told her no further treatment was required.

A year on, Jill wants to encourage others to seek advice early for any new symptoms - even if it could be down to other things.

Self-care is so important.

We all need to prioritise our health and see the doctor if we develop new or unusual symptoms.”

Besides volunteering Jill says her hobby of “anything crafty” has helped her keep calm and carry on.

"I knit, crochet, and sew. I make things that people don't really want me to give them," she giggles.

It was something to focus on after my cancer diagnosis that was positive and productive, taking my mind off the everyday stresses of life.”

If you or someone you love has been affected by cancer, our free Support Line is there for you. Just call 0808 808 1010