A Carluke grandfather now living in Kirkmuirhill is being used as the figurehead for a new anti-cancer campaign after he beat the dreaded disease.
It was 75-year-old Bob White’s decision to test himself for bowel cancer which saved his life and so made him an enthusiastic supporter of NHS Lanarkshire’s drive to encourage folk to give themselves a wee check - a ‘Wee C’ - to detect cancer - ‘The Big C’ - early enough for effective treatment.
Encouraging other folk to use the bowl testing kit being distributed by NHS Lanarkshire, the retired teacher and youth counsellor said: “I didn’t have any symptoms but the test identified that I had bowel cancer.
“It was vitally important that I used it because it caught the disease early. If I’d decided not to bother to test myself this year and just put it off, the cancer could have had a chance to spread beyond my bowel.”
Grandfather-of-two Bob was still living in Carluke at the time of his diagnosis in April.
He said: “I‘ve always made a point of using my screening test even though I didn’t think anything was wrong.
“When it came back positive I was sent a second kit to double-check, then I went for a hospital examination to confirm it was cancer.
“The diagnosis came out of the blue but I was put at my ease by the professionalism of the consultant and the other medical staff.
“It meant I was confident in their hands and knew it was a treatable condition.”
He had his life-saving operation at Wishaw General Hospital in July.
He added: “The nursing staff were so good during my recovery and I was very impressed by NHS Lanarkshire throughout my treatment.
“I’d been lacking energy before the diagnosis, but I’d just put that down to old age.
“Since my operation I’ve had much more get-up-and-go and I’m back to enjoying energetic things like canoeing, going for long walks – and looking after the grandchildren!
“I’m now a real supporter of taking the bowel cancer screening test and have been telling everyone I know who’s in the appropriate age group that they should be using it.
“The kit is very simple to use, but it has proved to be a potential life-saver for me and many others.”
Dr Jennifer Darnborough, NHS Lanarkshire consultant in public health, said: “Over 400 bowel cancer cases are picked up every year in Lanarkshire.
“If it’s found early nine out of 10 people will beat it. So do follow Bob’s example and take the test.”
Screening kits can be obtained by phoning the Bowel Screening Helpline on 0800 0121 833.