Bowel Cancer Awareness Month
April is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month.
One of those unmentionable subjects? But mentioning it might just save your life.
Bowel cancer is the 4th most common cancer in the UK and the 3rd most common cancer in Northern Ireland. It affects the large bowel, which is made up of the colon and rectum.
All tissues in your body are made up of cells, normally these cells divide and grow in a controlled way. When cancer develops, the cells change and can grow in an uncontrolled way. In bowel cancer this usually manifests as polyps in the beginning. However not all polyps turn into cancer but if found they are best removed just to be safe.
Symptoms of bowel cancer
Remember many of the symptoms below have other causes and many turn out not to be cancer, but they need checking out just to be sure.
You don’t need to have all the symptoms, if you have any of them
- 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
Statistics show that 1 in 14 men (7%) and 1 in 19 women (5%) will be diagnosed with bowel cancer during their lifetime.
- Aged over 50 – more than 9 out of 10 cases are in people aged over 50 but remember it can happen before then.
- A strong family history of bowel cancer
- A history of non-cancerous growths (polyps) in your bowel
- Longstanding inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
- Type 2 diabetes
- An unhealthy lifestyle i.e. smoking, drinking too much alcohol, no exercise.
What to do if you are worried
Remember if caught early, bowel cancer is treatable and curable. More than nine out of ten people diagnosed with stage 1 bowel cancer survive five years or more after diagnosis, and there is only a small chance that it will come back after five years.
If you are worried, then it’s important that you seek help right away. Your life is worth more than a bit of embarrassment, don’t worry our doctors have seen it all before.
To book an appointment with one of our GPs please call us on 028 90667 878. Alternatively book online at kingsbridgeprivatehospital.com
Posted on 13 Apr 2018