Be aware of bowel cancer symptoms

The bowel cancer team have appealed for people to take up screening when they are offered – as well as being aware of bowel cancer symptoms to look out for.

As part of Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, the colorectal team is raising awareness.

In our region, when you turn 55 (and if you are registered with a GP) you will be invited to a bowel scope screening.

This is where a thin flexible tube with a camera is used to look inside the bowel and look for any small growth known as polyps which need removing.

When people turn 60, people are also sent a home test kit in the post they are asked to complete, used to check for tiny amounts of blood in poo.

It doesn’t diagnose bowel cancer, but it’s a simple way to find out if you need further tests.

Being aware of the signs and symptoms is also very important – to catch anything untoward as early as possible.

Colorectal specialist nurse Beverly Hind said: “So many people fail to complete these two very simple tests.

“These tests save lives. Bowel cancer detected at an early stage before symptoms appear, is easier to treat and there’s a better chance of surviving.

“As part of Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, we are making lots of information available in main outpatient. We are urging people to report any worrying symptoms to their GP and complete bowel cancer screening tests

Colorectal nurse Lorna Shepherd said: “We are asking people to be aware of the symptoms.

“These include bleeding or blood in your poo, a change in bowel habits that lasts three or more weeks, unexplained tiredness or breathlessness and a lump or any pain in the abdomen (tummy).

“It’s important to say that most people with these symptoms will not have bowel cancer but it is important to discuss them with your GP to see if you need investigations.

“You can reduce your personal risk by stopping smoking, eating well, watching your weight, being more active and cutting down on alcohol.”

This year Beating Bowel Cancer and Bowel Cancer UK have merged to form the UK’s leading bowel cancer charity, with a mission to ensure that by 2050, no-one will die of bowel cancer.

Bowel cancer is the UK’s second biggest cancer killer however it shouldn’t be because it is treatable and curable especially if diagnosed early. Nearly everyone diagnosed at the earliest stage will survive bowel cancer but this drops significantly as the disease develops.

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