A CAVERSHAM resident who has stage four bowel cancer is at the heart of a national charity campaign.

Steve Clark, 55, is supporting Bowel Cancer UK’s campaign to mark ‘World Advanced Bowel Cancer Day’ tomorrow (September 27).

READ ALSO: Thames Hospice opens new shop in Caversham.

Every year around 42,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with bowel cancer, with 10,000 people diagnosed at stage four.

This is also known as advanced, secondary or metastatic disease, and is when the cancer spreads from the bowel to other parts of the body, most commonly the liver or lungs.

READ ALSO: Reading man organises beach clean on the Farne Islands to help planet.

Mr Clark was 49 when he was diagnosed with bowel cancer.

He explained: "At the time I was fit and healthy, I trained six days a week in the gym, did 10k races and practiced yoga and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA).

“My symptoms were very subtle."

This included going to the toilet up to 12 times a day.

He continued: "Officially I’m classed as ‘incurable’ and am therefore on a form of palliative care.

"However, I don’t view this as the end, it’s my stimulus to make the most of things and enjoy my life.

“During my treatment I started a campaign to celebrate approaching the magic 5-year mark since my diagnosis.

"Strive For Five aims to increase awareness of bowel cancer, give hope to other patients with advanced bowel cancer and to raise funds for Bowel Cancer UK.

“I’m pleased to say that it’s now over six years since my diagnosis and I’m not just surviving, I’m thriving.

"Together with my medical team, friends and family I’m now aiming to live beyond ten years.

"For me, a diagnosis of stage four bowel cancer doesn’t have to mean the end of your life, it can be the reason to start living it.

“For World Advanced Bowel Cancer Day, I want to say to anyone affected by stage four bowel cancer that there is hope, treatments are advancing all the time which means survival rates are constantly improving, be positive and please have hope.”

Dr Lisa Wilde, Director of Research and External Affairs, said: “Steve’s experience makes the charity even more determined to make real change happen for people diagnosed with advanced bowel cancer.

"Being aware of the symptoms and visiting your GP if things don’t feel right can help increase chances of an early diagnosis.”

Find out more about advanced bowel cancer on Bowel Cancer UK’s website.