April is bowel cancer awareness month, and a special opportunity to raise awareness of bowel cancer. During the month, patients and healthcare professionals across NHS Sutton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are encouraged to get bowel problems checked out, and if they are aged between 60-74, to take a free NHS bowel cancer test.
Nearly 98 per cent of people will survive bowel cancer for five years or more if detected at the earliest stage compared with 7 per cent diagnosed at the latest.
Bowel problems can be easily discussed with your GP. Symptoms of bowel cancer can include:
- Bleeding from your bottom and/or blood in your poo
- A change in bowel habit lasting three weeks or more
- Unexplained weight loss
- Extreme tiredness for no obvious reason
- A pain or lump in your tummy.
Bowel cancer screening in England
Screening can save lives but at the moment in some areas of the UK only a third of those who receive a test complete it, according to Bowel Cancer UK. Thousands of people are missing out on the chance to detect bowel cancer early when it is easier to treat.If you have a GP and you are aged 60-74, you will receive a letter inviting you to take part in the bowel cancer screening programme. Every two years, you will receive a home test kit, which is used to collect a stool sample.
If you are younger, tell the people over 60 in your life to take the test.
To raise awareness of bowel cancer and screening, organisations can book a Bowel Cancer UK talk. During bowel cancer awareness month, organisations can also order a fundraising pack, download information materials from Bowel Cancer UK or use social media to raise awareness #STOPbowelcancer @Bowel_Cancer_UK
Don’t forget that bowel cancer may be prevented by having a healthier lifestyle. According to Bowel Cancer UK, around half (54 per cent) of all bowel cancers could be prevented by measures including:
- eating a healthier diet
- taking more exercise
- cutting down on alcohol
- stopping smoking.
For information on a bowel-friendly lifestyle, visit Bowel Cancer UK at https://www.bowelcanceruk.org.uk/about-bowel-cancer/risk-factors/reducing-your-risk/ or get healthy lifestyle advice from https://www.sutton.gov.uk/info/200588/health_and_wellbeing or Health Help Now website (www.healthhelpnow.nhs.uk) and app.
Download information from Bowel Cancer UK from: https://www.bowelcanceruk.org.uk/about-bowel-cancer/order-publication/
Order bowel cancer awareness month information materials from:https://www.bowelcanceruk.org.uk/about-us/bowel-cancer-awareness-month/