A bowel cancer patient from Weybridge is heading a new campaign to raise awareness about the disease.

Matthew Wiltshire, 51 from Weybridge has stage four bowel cancer.

He was chosen as one of the leading voices in Bowel Cancer UK’s campaign to mark ‘World Advanced Bowel Cancer Day’ on Friday (September 27).

Matthew said his "entire world changed" when he was first diagnosed with the disease in 2015.

Since then, he has moved through the rollercoaster of multiple surgeries, chemotherapies, an all-clear celebration and the return of the disease, and is now sharing his experiences to help other patients and raise awareness more generally about the disease.

"I’m 51, married with two boys of 21 and 17.

"My entire world changed in April 2015 when, following a colonoscopy, I was told I had a cancerous tumour in my bowel," Matthew recalled.

While this initial phase allowed him to return home without chemo or radiotherapy, he spoke candidly about his first experiences of being treated for bowel cancer.

"There’s no doubt that the time I spent in hospital was the worst I’d endured in my life.

"I ended up being fed through a drip in my neck for a week. I was also given a stoma for three months.

"I managed fairly well, learning to sit the wrong way on the toilet, eating very carefully to avoid blockages, and adjusting my golf swing on a family holiday in Portugal," Matthew remembered.

After being given an 'all-clear' from doctors, Matthew was able to continue with his life a while, but the disease returned.

"I started to have an unpleasant feeling in my bottom which became quite painful.

"I reported to my surgeon (and) numerous scans revealed that the cancer had returned — this time in the pelvic region.

Matthew was later told that the cancer had spread to his lungs, and was placed on more severe chemotherapy regimes in response.

Despite some early success, it proved to be persistent and more difficult to remove, as he remembered after hearing a grave diagnosis from a radiologist.

"I walked out of there with one thing going around in my head — 'go home and get your affairs in order'.

"I’d gone from cured to incurable in fifteen minutes. The cancer in the lungs was back.

"My oncologist called the next day, same prognosis, slightly better delivery. 'It’s not months, its years'."

Since then, Matthew has undergone more rounds of chemotherapy and surgery to try and remove some of the cancerous tumours on his lungs, and is currently recovering in hospital.

"Cancer changes you, it’s unavoidable. I see the world through a new lens, with a different perspective on life. Some of it bad. But some of it good too," Matthew said.

"Therefore, relationships inevitably change. Roles change. I’ve gone from being the provider, supporter, advisor, carer, to almost the opposite.

"My wife needs to look after me (more!), my boys now worry about me, I’m less of the “big brother” to my sister, and my Dad faces burying a child. The dynamics have changed," he added.

Dr Lisa Wilde, Director of Research and External Affairs, at Bowel Cancer UK, said Matthew's case showed how important the group's work was.

"Matthew’s experience makes the charity even more determined to make real change happen for people diagnosed with advanced bowel cancer.

"We have been calling on the government for a long time to put initiatives in place to reduce the number of people diagnosed at the late stage of the disease and help ensure more people are diagnosed at the earlier stages.

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