Joyce Winnacott

DIED aged 42 in 1978

LIVED Cornwall

CAREER Shop assistant


Joyce died of colon cancer. Her death certificate records the cause of death as generalised abdominal metastases and carcinoma hepatic flexure of the colon.


Joyce died at the relatively young age of 42, leaving her husband Malcolm to care for their three young children. Malcolm also contracted colon cancer some years later, and because of his experience of Joyce’s illness he recognised the signs and was treated early enough to be saved.

Doctor's notes

"Cancer in the hepatic flexure of the colon is one of the most difficult cancers to diagnose. The colon is quite large, so it doesn’t get blocked up and cause symptoms that way. If there is a lump it may be up under the liver and therefore hard to detect with a hand on the abdomen.

"Because it's on the right side of the colon it's a long way from the rectum and may be difficult to see with a colonoscope, particularly years ago when the technology was less well developed. Because of all this, cancers in that area are more likely to be diagnosed late and hence more likely to spread. 

"A diet containing plenty of fruit and green vegetables is the best way to prevent colon cancer, as far as we know. It does run in families so regular check-ups are a good idea if you know that other members of your family have had it."

  • The Class of 1948 content, including this article, was written in 2008 to mark the 60th anniversary of the NHS and is not being updated.

Page last reviewed: 03/04/2014

Next review due: 03/04/2016


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