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When his filming schedule led him to three weeks in India, Ben Richards, star of The Bill, Holby City and Footballer’s Wives, dismissed his unusual toilet habits as just another symptom of his change of diet and saw it as a bit of a stomach ache due to the increase in spicy food he was eating.
However, after experiencing the symptoms of discomfort and seeing blood in his stools up to several months later, Ben decided to consult a GP. Within weeks and at the age of 39, Ben was diagnosed with cancer, and was told he had a tumour six centimetres long in his bowel. Over the course of the next few months he undertook chemotherapy,
radiotherapy and had to battle the stigma of wearing a colostomy bag.
Ben’s story is just one example of how ignoring the signs and symptoms of bowel cancer can be dangerous for your health. If you’re planning on travelling or going abroad and you notice some signs or symptoms similar to those Ben was experiencing, don’t just pass it off as a travelling bug, especially if it continues once you return home. You can experience differences in diet which then affect your bowel but this usually adjusts or adapts within a week or will go back to normal once you’re home.
Don’t leave it too late – if something isn’t right, see your GP.
If Ben’s condition had been further advanced, he would have been forced to seek medical attention whilst he was in India, something which might not have been covered if he hadn’t invested in a travel insurance policy which covered his medical expenses, including any treatment. Good quality travel insurance policies also cover the cancellation of your trip should you become so ill you must return home for tests and treatment.