A MOTHERWELL woman who credits a free screening test for saving her life is urging others to take up the offer.
Ann Rytel was diagnosed with bowel cancer after completing a routine test.
And after being given the ‘all clear’ following treatment, Ann is backing the Scottish Bowel Screening Programme.
Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in Scotland. Approximately 4,000 people are diagnosed with the disease every year.
As part of the national Detect Cancer Early campaign, a new TV advert is encouraging people to make sure they take part in the programme. It invites all men and women in Scotland between the ages of 50 and 74 for screening every two years.
Last year in Lanarkshire, only 47 per cent completed the test that they were sent.
Ann said: “When I first got the test through, I didn’t want to do it. I put it in my magazine rack and told myself that I would get round to it eventually.
“However, six weeks later I received a reminder letter, which convinced me to do the test.
“I was asked to do another test as they found blood in the first one. Within two days of sending off my re-test I received a letter saying that I would need a colonoscopy at Wishaw General Hospital.”
Ann’s further tests revealed that she had bowel cancer.
She continued: “When they told me it was cancer, I didn’t know what to think. I asked the doctor if I was going to die.
“I will never forget my husband’s face. He had lost his first wife to cancer. He put his head in his hands and said ‘deja vu’.
“My husband told the doctor that I had been in tears with pain. She advised me to go and collect some things and come straight back to the hospital. I had the operation two days later.
“I was shown a picture of the tumour once it was removed. I was really shocked when I saw it. To me, it looked as if it was as big as the palm of my hand.”
After her operation, Ann received six sessions of chemotherapy and has now thankfully been given the ‘all clear’.
She said: “I stress to everyone how important taking this test is. It doesn’t sound very nice and it’s not the most pleasant thing to do. “However, I plead with them as it can save your life. It saved my life. If I had not done the test, I might not be here today.
“My doctor saved my life and I am thankful that I am here to tell my story. I have been given a second shot at life and I am determined to live it to the full.”