Cumbernauld dad's stitch after Celtic game turned out to be bowel cancer

A Cumbernauld dad has told how a stitch in his side that started after a Celtic game in Glasgow turned out to be bowel cancer.

Graeme McCabe, 53, began suffering from the sharp pain whilst out with his pals after watching the Hoops in the city last October.

The former ScotRail train driver was diagnosed with stage 3 bowel cancer just weeks later after he was sent to hospital to test for suspected gallstones.

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Graeme told the Record: “I was out in the pub with my mates after the Celtic game.

“I’ve run a lot of marathons before and suffered plenty of stitches in the past. This felt really similar. I just put it down to not being as fit as I used to be.

“But this stitch just wouldn’t go away. I spoke to my wife, Karen, and decided to go and get it checked at the doctors.

“It was a nurse practitioner who saw me. I’ll be forever grateful to her.

“She gave me a piece of paper and sent me straight to Monklands Hospital. She thought it was gallstones but said I needed to get an ultrasound, which flagged lesions on my liver.

“I then got a CT scan and the consultant said they had found a 'nasty' shadow in my bowel. They never said right away it was the big ‘C’, but I knew it was serious.”

Graeme started to notice a stitch after a Celtic game
Graeme started to notice a stitch after a Celtic game -Credit:Daily Record

As well as cancer, Graeme, who has two sons, Aiden, 15 ,and Matthew, 17, is tackling a daily battle against a heart condition, atrial fibrillation, which causes irregular heart beats.

The condition forced him to quit his job as a train driver and he now works as a cleaner for ScotRail.

He said: “The two conditions are like a perfect storm.

“I’ve found that some days I’m unable to walk the length of my driveway.

“I used to be really fit. I competed in marathons, did loads of cycling and open water swimming. I was pretty active at one point.

"But now I just want to be there for my sons and that is what is keeping me going."

Graeme McCabe is battling stage 3 bowel cancer
Graeme McCabe is battling stage 3 bowel cancer -Credit:Daily Record

Graeme has urged other men his age to get checked if they notice anything unusual as he told how his cancer diagnosis came just months after he was given the all-clear on the national bowel cancer screening programme.

He said: “In hindsight, I had noticed wee things building up but I just thought nothing of it.

“I started taking pro-biotics and thought I just had to make changes to my diet.

“I only got the all-clear from the regular bowel screening in February, so this came as a huge shock.

“I remember even thinking to myself that I was wasting their time before my CT scan and that they’ll not find anything.

“The irony is the day after I went to the doctors my stitch had disappeared.

“A lot of men will be the same and they’ll put things off, but getting checked could save your life.”

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Graeme has now had surgery on his bowel and will soon complete a course of chemotherapy.

According to NHS inform Scotland, the bowel screening test can pick up most cases of bowel cancer but can't find them all, with no screening test 100 per cent accurate.

The test looks for hidden blood in poo and not all cancers bleed. Changes can also happen between screening tests. This means cancer can sometimes be missed.

Patients are urged to never ignore symptoms of bowel cancer, like blood in your poo, a change in bowel habits and abdominal (tummy) pain.

More information can be found here.

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