Get it checked, says Anno's dad

"DON'T leave it too late. Early detection of cancer is the key."

Anthony Avery knows all too well the devastating result of not having your symptoms checked.

His son, Anthony 'Anno' Avery junior died from bowel cancer on September 2, 2008, aged just 26.

The young father was fit and sporty, didn't drink or smoke, but cancer doesn't discriminate and can happen to anyone.

"To the men who think I might have the symptoms get it checked it the message we want to send.

"It could mean the difference between you seeing your kids or your grandkids grow up.

"Some of the men leave it because they are strong or embarrassed. Go and get it checked out.

"What we found hard is what are the symptoms. We didn't know that".

He said Anno had at one stage been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome.

"We would be driving to Sydney and have to stop in Nabiac so he could go to the toilet."

Sadly, Anno was experiencing symptoms, including the passing of blood from his bowel, that he didn't tell his parents about because he didn't want to "worry" them but also didn't have checked out.

"He suffered for 15 months and we still didn't know."

The day he was diagnosed he was preparing to play footy on the weekend but during that week his stomach swelled up.

"He thought it was wind".

Things took a turn for the worse the next morning and he was taken to hospital where it was discovered the cancer had blocked his bowel and he was rushed in for an operation.

Sadly, it was too late and the cancer eventually took his life.

Anthony hopes that in sharing his son's story it might prompt others to get themselves checked if they are experiencing symptoms that could indicate cancer.