April is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month and an opportunity to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of bowel cancer.
April is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month and is a great opportunity to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of bowel cancer.
Bowel cancer is the second biggest cancer killer in the UK. However, an early diagnosis can mean it is not only treatable but also curable.
Therefore it is so important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of bowel cancer in order to get checked.
Signs and symptoms of bowel cancer
A recent survey by Bowel Cancer UK revealed almost half of UK adults are not aware of the symptoms of bowel cancer:
- Bleeding from your bottom and/or blood in your poo
- An persistent and unexplained change in your bowel habits
- Unexplained weight loss
- Extreme tiredness for no obvious reason
- A pain or lump in your tummy
Embarrassment a barrier to seeking help
Many people feel embarrassed talking about their toilet habits and this is affecting the amount of people seeking help for potential symptoms of bowel cancer.
A recent survey found one third of UK adults would not seek medical advice if they exhibited common symptoms of bowel cancer. Another survey found over a quarter of people would wait to see if their symptoms got worse before speaking to their GP.
Whilst talking about our bowel movements is not usually part of normal conversation and many people perceive it as a taboo subject, healthcare professionals will not be embarrassed and being able to talk about potential symptoms could be life saving.
Advice and support
If you are concerned about any symptoms, speak with your occupational health advisor and book an appointment with your GP.
There is also lots of information and support via:
- Bowel Cancer UK: bowelcanceruk.org.uk
- Cancer Research UK: cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/bowel-cancer
- Macmillian Cancer: macmillan.org.uk/cancer-information-and-support/bowel-cancer
Sources: BUPA (2020); Bowel Cancer UK (2021)