April is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month and we’re encouraging everyone to be aware of the symptoms and to take part in screening when it is offered.
Every 15 minutes somebody is diagnosed with bowel cancer in the UK - that's nearly 43,000 people each year. Bowel cancer is very treatable but the earlier it’s diagnosed, the easier it is to treat. People whose cancer is diagnosed at an early stage have a much higher chance of successful treatment than those whose cancer has become more widespread.
If you have any symptoms, don’t be embarrassed and don’t ignore them. Doctors are used to seeing lots of people with bowel problems.
The symptoms of bowel cancer can include:
- Bleeding from your bottom and/or blood in your poo
- A persistent and unexplained change in bowel habit
- Unexplained weight loss
- Extreme tiredness for no obvious reason
- A pain or lump in your tummy
Most people with these symptoms don’t have bowel cancer. But if you have one or more of these, or if things just don’t feel right, please visit your doctor.
If you’re aged between 60 and 74, you will be invited to take part in bowel cancer screening every two years. Some people aged 56 are also being invited to take part. This is because the age that people are invited to take part is changing. Eventually everyone between the ages of 50 and 74 will be invited to take part. You can find out more about the screening here; https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/bowel-cancer-screening/
Bowel Cancer UK supports anyone affected by bowel cancer. They champion early diagnosis and campaign for treatment and care. You can find out more at https://www.bowelcanceruk.org.uk/
The charity is also inviting you to join them at 7pm on Sunday, 24 April, to light a candle for everyone who has been lost to bowel cancer.
Together with hundreds of others across the UK you can help raise awareness of the disease and remember those who've died too soon.
Sign up to take part here; https://www.bowelcanceruk.org.uk/support-us/donate-in-memory/remember-together/