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Thor & Laura

#auguts hard to talk about

Dr Michael Thor lives with Crohn’s disease, and shares his experiences of diagnosis during his teenage years. Miss Laura Hancock is a colorectal surgeon who conducts research within the field of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Her Bowel Research UK grant focuses on an under-recognised type of Crohn’s disease that involves the genital region.

Thor was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at just 14 years old after developing stomach flu and experiencing persisting symptoms. He explains the impact Crohn’s has had on his life and the difficulty around talking about this topic.

Watch Thor and Laura discuss living with Crohn’s disease, Laura’s research into genital Crohn’s, and the importance of starting conversations and funding research.

Miss Laura Hancock is a Consultant General and Colorectal Surgeon whose research interests centre around IBD. She is the lead on a project funded by Bowel Research UK about patients with Crohn’s disease who have genital involvement. This has a devastating impact on physical and mental health, resulting in inability to work, exercise or have an active sex life. The research team have looked at what has been published previously on genital Crohn’s and this has shown that young women are disproportionately affected and can experience debilitating symptoms for years before they are diagnosed. Currently, little is known about how best to diagnose or treat this

To learn more about Miss Hancock’s work, follow this link here


On the importance of having hard to have conversations, Thor says: “I think I’m a bit of a unique case because my, my dad had ulcerative colitis and my mom was a nurse with a very morbid sense of humour. So speaking about this kind of thing wasn’t really an issue, but I think there needs to be a concerted effort to just get people to open up. It’s not. It’s not a big deal.”

Laura discusses how these conversations can benefit research: “Sometimes an uncomfortable subject really helps not just for the patient, but for the clinician as well. Patients and clinicians can then both understand the research and how it affects patients so that we can get patients to an earlier, more rapid diagnosis and hopefully treatments in the end”.

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#auguts stories

We’re highlighting topics that are difficult to talk about and research that’s hard to fund. Read and watch stories from bowel cancer and bowel disease patients and researchers.


I was born 8 weeks premature with Intestinal Malrotation. My understanding is they weren’t sure what was causing me the pain as a newborn, being premature too. When surgery was eventually done it was found my bowels had twisted. Corrective surgery was done. I was christened in the hospital as it wasn’t looking great.

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I have diverticular disease on the right side of my body and I believe only a few people have it on this side.

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Frank McDermott

Mr Frank McDermott is a Consultant Colorectal Surgeon and Cancer lead for the Genomics Medicine Service Alliance in Southwest England. His grant with Bowel Research UK why some patients with diverticulitis experience serious complications such as blood infection, while others have milder disease. 

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Join the #auguts campaign by sharing your own story via video or the written word! We are looking for videos and stories about difficult conversations people have had about their bowel condition, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, or anything else related. Our Patient and Public Involvement Manager Sam Alexandra Rose has created her own video as an example, which you can see below to give you some ideas.

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    Find out more about #auguts 2023

    We brought some of our patients, researchers and our CEO together to talk about what makes bowel disease hard to talk about and hard to fund. Watch them share their stories and join the campaign.

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