Some cancers are less starry than others, so get yourself tested - Susan Morrison

​When I was diagnosed with a stage two tumour in my right breast, I had no problem telling people about it. The prognosis was positive.
BBC presenter Deborah James, who urged people to check their poos, died of bowel cancer (Photo: Deborah James / bowelbabe Instagram)BBC presenter Deborah James, who urged people to check their poos, died of bowel cancer (Photo: Deborah James / bowelbabe Instagram)
BBC presenter Deborah James, who urged people to check their poos, died of bowel cancer (Photo: Deborah James / bowelbabe Instagram)

Yes, ok, the boobs went, but now I can jog without three sports bras on. Silver lining and all that.

​Everyone knows about breast cancer now, but once it was only spoken of in hushed tones. Stigma silenced women. But no more.

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In fact, there’s almost a sort of manic jolliness around boob cancer. Vital life-saving research is funded by an endless conveyor belt of money-raising events like boozy lunches, moonlit marathon walks and cake bakes.

Breast Cancer Awareness has a whole month, October, and pink is the colour. It’s everywhere. The castle and the Balmoral clock are given a ruby glow. Supermarkets like Asda pink-wash their cosy jammies and be-ribbon their lingerie, including their bras, which is slightly ironic.

Diagnosed celebrities give interviews about their cancer treatments. This is a very, very good thing.

Kylie Minogue shocked the world in 2005 when she went defiantly public about her breast cancer, because she wanted women to know that you can survive this thing.

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Of course, we grieve for the ones who don’t make it, like Sarah Harding and Sarah Bland, but they, too, bravely hammered out the message, get checked, get treated.

With breast cancer, I felt a community standing with me and a world of women on my side. The discovery of a tumour lurking in my bowel was, quite literally, a punch in the gut.

It was a much lonelier experience. Bowel cancer doesn’t have quite the celebrity profile. Where are hi-profile sufferers talking about that cancer battle? They must be out there. It’s really common, and now seems to be moving down the age demographic.

Is it something to do with bottoms? After all, boobs are quite glamorous, but bums really aren’t. Well, there’s the icky matter of poo, something that really can really define your life as a colorectal cancer sufferer.

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The campaigning corporate colour could be an issue. Pink is a shoo-in for booby campaigns, but no-one seems keen to appropriate “Keech Broon” for bowel cancer.

Fair enough. Who wants to wander about with a jobbie coloured ribbon on? We probably wouldn’t even notice a muddy-coloured light on the castle.

Bowel Cancer UK have gone for a sort of teal and yellow combination. Apt, I guess. Reminds me of the contents of my babies’ nappies.

Perhaps we need more celebrity star power. George Alagiah was my inspiration when I was told my cancer had spread. He was fearless.

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Deborah James became a celebrity for speaking up about bowel cancer. We’ve lost them both now.

Not suggesting that celebs go out and get bowel cancer just for publicity, although I can think of a few who’d go for it. And of course, everyone has the right to keep their health private.

But all too often we only know that someone famous had colon cancer when their death is announced. Come on, don’t be coy. A bit of star power always comes in handy.

In the meantime, all you lucky 50+ Scots with free kits, spear that poo and get it tested. Get checked, get treated.

You’re a celebrity in your own world. Make your own brown ribbon and wear it with pride.

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