An award winning podcast hosted by bowel cancer survivor, Stephanie Bansemer-Brown, is a monthly chat sharing stories and lived-experiences. Hearing from those living with or beyond bowel cancer, as well as health professionals involved in bowel cancer treatment and care, can be a valuable resource that can encourage and inspire others.
Please note, podcasts may occasionally contain content that some listeners may find distressing.
'Women’s bodies seem to offer so many potential detours when looking for a diagnosis. Be willing to politely question a medical professional,” says Margaret.
Bowel cancer survivor, former member parliament and moderator of Bowel Cancer Australia's young-onset bowel cancer webinar series, Margaret Fitzherbert chats to Stephanie about the importance of politely challenging medical professionals and seeking a second opinion.
Diagnosed in her early 40's, Margaret underwent treatment for stage 3 bowel cancer whilst serving in public office.
"Having experienced bowel cancer as a patient and viewed it through the prism of public policy, I've learned that there are many ways we can improve survival rates. What's lacking is the will. With bowel cancer now the deadliest cancer for people aged 25-44, this must change."
'My friends were finishing high school and celebrating their 18ths while I am mourning at my Mum’s funeral,' Chantel explains.
Chantel from Googlebox Australia was just 14 when her mum was first diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer and 18 when she passed away. During her important teenage years, she was looking after her Mum, trying to get through school while her friends were off enjoying life.
Watching her mum slowly succumb to the disease had long term mental health ramifications for Chantel.
Chantel tells Stephanie why she is passionate about sharing her story as a young carer, raising bowel cancer and mental health awareness and her passion for helping other young people going through a similar situation.
“You get a little picnic rug for your poo and take the poo to the picnic,” Cal Wilson describing her NBCSP experience
Cal Wilson is one of Australia’s most popular comedians and a perennial favourite on television shows and discovered she was far more resilient than she thought when participating in the exotic challenges on I’m a Celebrity Get Me out of Here!
Chatting to Stephanie, Cal shares why she wanted to raise awareness for Bowel Cancer Australia as her nominated charity. “Both my Mum and my neighbour had bowel cancer and I felt helpless but wanted to do my bit to help. I’m not a surgeon, but I can talk so I wanted to use my voice to raise awareness.”
With her own unique brand of comedy, Cal’s honest but hilarious take on all things poo and talks candidly about her families 'poo shyness', sending your screening test in the mail via '$#*! posting' and how important it is to have a laugh no matter what the situation.
“I can feel profound loneliness as a cancer patient trying to access treatment during COVID-19,” says Nicole.
COVID-19 has impacted all Australians but for bowel cancer patients navigating the healthcare system and accessing treatment, the pandemic has added complexities, some unforeseen, to an already stressful situation.
Stage 4 bowel cancer patient and advocate, Nicole chats to Stephanie about the importance of being an active participant in your treatment and care, never taking no for an answer and the profound loneliness she sometimes feels as a patient in the middle of a pandemic.
Nicole explains how being stranded in your room with a possible infectious disease and without the support you need as a cancer patient, is one of the more harrowing impacts of COVID-19.
"Anxiety and depression go hand in hand with pain – we must improve pain management and report it loud and clear, “ says Dr Tim Hucker.
Pain specialist, Dr Tim Hucker explains that cancer-related pain can occur at any time and isn’t always due to the cancer itself as a number of the treatments used in cancer care can cause pain - such as pain following surgery or peripheral nerve pain after chemotherapy.
Stephanie and Dr Hucker discuss the connection between pain, anxiety and depression, and recovery outcomes as well as how living with uncontrolled cancer-related pain can affect how people choose and respond to treatments.
Dr Hucker also describes advances in pain management and the importance of reporting pain 'loud and clear' to your medical team so a pain management program can be tailored to your needs.
Gemma talks of the day she was told she had young-onset bowel cancer 'You instantly think of your children. I’ll never forget that one moment!'
Experiencing ongoing vomiting and stomach pain, Gemma was diagnosed during the Covid-19 pandemic with stage IV bowel cancer at the age of 35. Stephanie and Gemma talk about the emotional toll of being isolated from her family and friends throughout treatment.
Gemma discusses peritoneal metastases, including hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC), which involves filling the abdominal cavity with chemotherapy that has been heated (also known as 'hot chemotherapy') following surgery to remove cancerous tumours.
Passionate about raising awareness and helping other young people, Gemma also discusses the need to connect with a good support network and encourages people to saviour the special milestones and enjoy the things that make you happy.
Fabulous, informative and reassuring
As a stage Three young onset bowel cancer survivor I found this podcast fascinating and reassuring. Along with the help of Bowel Cancer Australia and the fabulous teams involved in Australian medical systems this podcast is a brilliant life line of help and hope