News Item

Return to list of news items

Bowel Cancer Month

April is Bowel Cancer awareness month and Men’s Sexual Health thinks it’s an important topic all men and their partners should be made more aware of. You have probably seen the current adverts on TV that the government are running to improve people’s understanding of this form of cancer. We’d like to provide you with a few more facts and information in preparation for next month’s campaign:

Someone dies from Bowel Cancer every 30 minutes and it is the third most common cancer in the UK. More than 37,000 people are diagnosed with bowel and colorectal cancer every year in Britain. It claims almost 16,000 lives and it’s the second biggest killer, second only to lung cancer. It affects men and women, particularly those who are over 50. However, the sooner a patient is diagnosed with bowel cancer, the better their chances of survival.

The good news is that Bowel Cancer can be successfully treated in over 90% of cases if it is diagnosed at an early stage, before it has had a chance to grow and spread.

The symptoms of bowel (colorectal) cancer can be:

·Bleeding from your bottom and/or blood in your poo

·A change in bowel habit lasting for 3 weeks or more especially looser or runny poo

·Unexplained weight loss

·Extreme tiredness for no obvious reason

·A pain or lump in your tummy

You might experience one, some, or all of the above or no symptoms at all. Remember most symptoms will not be bowel cancer.

If you are worried about any symptoms that you think might be caused by Bowel Cancer, make an appointment with your doctor. You’re not wasting anyone’s time by getting your symptoms checked out and if it’s not serious, your mind will be put at rest. However, if it turns out to be a condition such as Bowel Cancer, early detection can make all the difference. A trip to your doctor’s surgery could save your life!

If you are aged 60-69 you’ll be sent bowel ‘screening’ kits every two years.

If you are aged 70 or over you can request a kit by phoning 0800 707 60 60, although in some parts of the country you will be sent kits up until you are 75.

It’s really important that you use the kits, as they can help to catch Bowel Cancer early, before you have any symptoms.

Experts say that these screening kits can significantly reduce the risk of dying from Bowel Cancer. They can also detect polyps, which can be easily removed. Polyps aren’t cancers, but in some cases they can develop into cancer.

By taking some simple steps to improve your diet and taking regular exercise you can help to reduce your risk of bowel cancer. So it is important to:

  • consider what you are eating
  • eat plenty of fibre
  • eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day
  • avoid processed meats and have no more than 500g of red meat per week
  • keep active with regular exercise
  • keep hydrated and avoid drinks containing caffeine
  • know your alcohol limits
  • don't smoke
  • know the symptoms of bowel cancer and act on them if you have any concerns
  • take part in the Bowel Cancer Screening Programme in your area when you are invited. This involves completing a simple test which can help identify whether further investigation is necessary

If you have any more concerns about Bowel Cancer, check out the NHS website

or the Bowel Cancer UK website