A GRANDAD has urged others to not ignore a potentially lifesaving test.
Tattoo artist Harry Pattinson is recovering from surgery in Sunderland Royal Hospital, after the bowel testing kit sent through the post led to his cancer diagnosis.
“People should not ignore the kits and use it,” said Harry, from Red House.
“I had no symptoms and felt great and if I hadn’t done it, then I would have been oblivious that I had bowel cancer.”
The 66-year-old, who runs the Tattoo You studio in King Street, South Shields, is married to Pauline, 62, and father to Lisa, 40, and Lee, 43.
His loved ones are raising funds for the ward to buy equipment, with a Christmas fair and raffle at Red House Workingmen’s Club tomorrow, from 6pm.
Hairdresser Lisa, mum to Daimon, 24, Bethany, 22, Parishe, 19, and Harry, 17, has been rallying round to gather support from businesses in the area ahead of the event.
She said she was stunned by her father’s diagnosis because he had shown no signs of suffering from the disease.
“We wanted to do something to raise awareness of bowel cancer because my dad wasn’t poorly at all.
“He’s still in hospital after the surgery and had tests and scans, and now we’re just waiting for those to come back.
“The ward has really supported us and we want to do something to help them.”
Harry was among those who are offered tests every two years as part of a screening campaign, which covers men and women aged between 60 and 74. Letters are sent out to patients registered with a GP automatically once they fall into the age group.
A spokesman for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead, which runs the screening project, said: “Cases such as these highlight the importance of faecal occult bowel kits, and routine testing among this age group.
“We’re delighted that this gentleman had such a positive outcome.
“Being bowel aware is about knowing what is normal for you. If changes occur in your bowel habits lasting four to six weeks or more, contact your GP to discuss.
“It’s good to remember that not all bowel symptoms are bowel cancer, although it is worth getting symptoms checked as catching a cancer early will improve the treatment options and individual outcomes.”