Bowel Cancer in the UK
The beginning of April marked the start of Bowel Cancer Awareness month. Bowel cancer is very treatable and one of the most common cancers in the UK.
40,000 cases are diagnosed every year. 1 in every 20 people will develop bowel cancer in their life time.
Symptoms of bowel cancer are often ones that you may find difficult to talk about or explain to your doctor. Nobody enjoys an uncomfortable conversation, especially when it comes to being candidly honest about something so private but the earlier it’s diagnosed, the greater the chance of survival is. It’s difficult, but let’s talk about it.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS?
- Bleeding from your bottom and/or blood in your bowel movements
- A change in your bowel habits that lasts three weeks or longer
- Sudden and unexplained weight loss
- Extreme tiredness for no obvious reason
- A pain or a lump in your stomach
AM I AT RISK OF BOWEL CANCER?
Currently we do not know what causes this cancer. We have been able to identify some factors that can increase your risk of getting the disease:
- Aged over 50
- A strong family history of bowel cancer
- Being overweight or obese
- Lack of exercise and being inactive
- Longstanding inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
HOW CAN I HELP PREVENT BOWEL CANCER?
There is no way to 100% prevent bowel cancer unfortunately. Things like family history, you cannot change.
However, there are some ways you can help yourself as recommended by the NHS.
- Improve your diet – eat less processed foods and red meat, eat more fish and fibre
- It is recommended that adults exercise for at least 2.5 hours a week
- Making sure you are a ‘healthy’ weight
- Stop smoking
- Cut down on alcohol
You can read all about these tips here on the NHS website.
GET SCREENED FOR BOWEL CANCER
If you are concerned about possible symptoms and are not eligible for NHS screening (aged between 60 – 74 and registered with a GP), you can make an appointment to speak with one of our experienced GPs (male or female GP’s).