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Henk Warns: Colorectal Cancer Affects Young People Too!

It was while he was living an active life and enjoying a lovely holiday in the Sabie in June 2012, that Henk Ferreira started realising that his body wasn’t functioning as it is supposed to. After experiencing stomach problems and cramps for little while and realising that none of his prescribed medication was improving his symptoms, he went to a physician on the 28th of August. He was informed that all appeared to be in order.

Despite this diagnosis, Henk was not getting any better, so he went for a colonoscopy on the 6th of September and was told that they couldn’t insert the camera, as there was a growth in his colon. After going for an MRI and a CAT scan, a biopsy was performed on the 13th of September and it was confirmed that he had colorectal cancer. The cancer mass was so big, that he needed to start with radiotherapy immediately.

Henk comes from a healthy family, with no history of cancer. As a healthy 45 year old, cancer was not something that Henk thought he would experience in his life. His family and partner, Ilze, supported him and helped him cope with the disease. Ilze made sure they were informed about his cancer and what the treatment entailed. By being fully informed, they felt more in control of the situation.

After enduring 5 weeks of chemotherapy, Henk underwent surgery on the 10th of January 2013 in order to remove the cancer mass in his colon. The process was successful, and Henk is now in remission.

Colorectal cancer is a mystery to many people – Henk and Ilze have taken it upon themselves to make people more aware of it. They would like to dispel the myth that it is an old people’s disease – the symptoms of colorectal cancer have nothing to do with your age, anyone is susceptible!

Henk’s message to all people is that cancer can be beaten. It isn’t all about your doctor or the right medicine – but prevention remains the best cure. If you detect cancer early enough, it doesn’t have to become a big issue – awareness and early detection is key. Read more about colorectal cancer here…


  • Stella says:

    Hi… so true how colon cancer can affect the young too and not only the old. I was diagnosed in June 2014 and since still on chemotherapy, its been hard to raise a 2 year old and accept the fact being 33 years old and actually have my whole life ahead of me, yet it can be taken away in a blink of an eye.

  • Andrew Barry says:

    Cancer can be beaten is an expression which people do not easily believe. I was diagnosed with colo-rectal cancer in 1999. I had a A-perenial resection. I spent more than 20 days in hospital including my 35th birthday. I had sceptasemia and two operations later I had lost a fair number of kilograms. I weighed 78 kilograms and when I left hospital I had lost min excess of 20 kilograms. After a successful operation and a colostomy bag, I was told that I would have to undergo a number of radiation sessions at the Oncology hospital. What a scary six week I had to endure. I ws diagnosed with second stage colon cancer.

    The impo

  • Rosie says:

    I am 30 years old and a year ago i was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. It took a year before that to diagnose it as no one believed a healthy 29 year old could get colon cancer. I am receiving palliative chemo but I was given two years so I have a year left. Colon cancer happens to the very young too, not just young 40 year olds.

  • Ermi Pillai says:

    Thanks Debbie – I shall do so. Henk, continue spreading the word that young people are also affected. I don’t think many people are aware of t his type of cancer. Caleb, all the best with the fight against cancer. It can be beaten.


  • Ermi Pillai says:

    Absolutely. Colorectal cancer is affecting people younger and younger these days. At 21 years old I was diagnosed with colo-rectal cancer. I had surgery, chemo and radiation and have now been in remission for 17 years. In 1996 a 21 year old patient with the diseas was rare. Nowadays, it seems it’s the norm.

    Strongs to those fighting the disease. Never give up the fight.

    • Debbie @CANSA says:

      Dear Ermi

      Thank you for your inspiring message to those battling cancer. Please consider joining our Champions of Hope Facebook Group for cancer survivors (anyone who has heard the words ‘you have cancer’) – the members of the group have all had cancer in the past or have it now and are very supportive of each other: – we need people like you to inspire and encourage!

  • More like my story.

    I was diagnosed in March 2013. Adenocarcinoma, they called it.. My first reaction was, ‘why me?’. Being a health/hygiene fanatic.

    Had a Hemicolectomy in April. Now going through chemo. I wish to thank my family, friends and church for their support. I am coping well. Have made it a ‘choice’ that I will beat the cancer. I want to quote you Henk, your “message to all people is that cancer can be beaten.”.

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