‘You can’t just hide and hope’: Mark Allen opens up on cancer battle
Macquarie Sports Radio Drive host Mark Allen has opened up on his battle with stage four bowel and lung cancer.
In an article published in the Herald Sun on Sunday, the much-loved figure publicly revealed his five month battle with dual cancers which were discovered after a colonoscopy was fast-tracked following a chance encounter with a doctor on the golf course.
“You wouldn’t even know I was sick by the way I’m getting around at the moment, which is the most amazing thing,” Marko tells Macquarie Sports Radio’s Hour of Power.
Allen credits the power of a positive workplace as a major factor in why he’s feeling as good as he is despite facing the most serious battle of his life.
“I come into work every day and we try to work out how to make each other laugh, I’ve been so lucky, that has been amazing,” he said.
Allen, who recently turned 50, was spurred on by the support of his medical team who encouraged him to become a spokesman for a disease which is confronting for people to discuss.
“Bowel cancer is the one nobody wants, because you’re talking about the symptoms which are what your poo looks like, whether you wipe your bum and there’s a bit of red blood on the paper, the worst bits,
“I’m that guy, I’m now the poo guy.”
Allen will undergo another round of major surgery on Thursday where 70% of his bowel will be removed, in addition to the 18% of his lungs which were taken out earlier in the year.
“I feel very, very lucky, if you look at me today you wouldn’t even know I was sick,
“But this next operation is a big one and if it’s a successful one, hopefully we’re on the home stretch,
The former professional golfer is urging people who have symptoms or a family history of bowel cancer to get checked.
“Bowel cancer is very slow moving, I did blood tests year after year and everything was OK,
“I did a blood test on the Monday before the Thursday colonoscopy that found my rectal tumor, and that blood test – a specific one for bowel cancer – came up clear,”
“If your colonoscopy picks up a polyp or two, I had one tumor and one polyp, but if it’s just a couple of polyps, that same colonoscopy now has the technology to snip them off and you’re right for six years,
“Bowel cancer is the most curable cancer if it’s caught early, because the pre-cancerous stuff is a snip, that’s it.”
Click PLAY to hear Mark Allen speaking with Mark Levy, Mark ‘Piggy’ Riddell and Andrew Gaze:
Speaking on 3AW’s Sunday Sport, Allen stressed the importance of seeing your doctor and getting tested if you display any symptoms of bowel cancer.
“The warning sign unfortunately was way too late, they suspect I’ve had a tumour in my rectum for three and half years.
“You can’t just hide and hope.”
His blood tests originally came but clean but said those results shouldn’t solely be relied on.
“Don’t rely on the blood test if you have a history of cancer,” he said.
“I was in disbelief because I was feeling so good. To this day I don’t feel sick.
“When they told me it had migrated to my lungs, then it was game on.
“I was driving home thinking about funeral songs, not many people get told they are stage four cancer.
“We have got some good doctors and chemotherapy drugs are really good these days.
“I was lucky I reacted really well to it.”
Click PLAY to hear Mark Allen speaking with 3AW Sunday Sport