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Know The Signs: Bowel Cancer Awareness Month

Written by on 22/04/2021

April is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month and residents of Morecambe Bay are being urged not to delay contacting their GP about concerning symptoms.

Bowel Cancer is the UK’s second biggest cancer killer with more than 16,000 people dying from the disease every year. Bowel cancer is treatable and curable, especially if diagnosed early. Nearly everyone survives bowel cancer if diagnosed at the earliest stage, however this drops significantly as the disease develops. It is more common in the over 50s but it can affect people of all ages.

Being aware of the key symptoms and visiting your GP if things don’t feel right can help increase chances of an early diagnosis and could save your life.

The symptoms of bowel cancer can include:

    • 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

Other health problems can cause similar symptoms but if you have one or more of these, or if things just don’t feel right you are urged to see your GP.

Cancer assessment and treatments are still happening. New innovations such as video consultation, reviewing photographs of skin lesions and arranging urgent tests are helping the recovery process. Novel solutions such as specialised surgical hubs are being utilised to ensure patients receive safe and timely operations for cancer.

Dr Thimmiah Arun, local GP and GP Lead for Cancer at Morecambe Bay Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said:
“Around 42,000 new cases of bowel cancer are detected in the UK each year. It’s shocking that around half of adults living in the UK (42%) are not aware of any symptoms of bowel cancer and yet it is the UK’s second biggest killer. If you notice any symptoms of bowel cancer such as persistent blood in your poo, persistent change in bowel habits or lower abdominal pain, or if things just don’t feel quite right, please contact your GP for a consultation.

“While the disease largely affects people over the age of 50, around 2,500 under 50s are diagnosed each year, so it’s really important people seek advice as soon as possible – whatever your age – if you are worried.

“NHS staff continue to work incredibly hard to keep cancer services going during the pandemic, the NHS is open and we have procedures in place to ensure we can see you quickly and safely. Please don’t delay speaking to your GP because if it is cancer, the earlier it is caught the more treatable it is.”

In Morecambe Bay urgent care and treatment is still available for all residents, please do not risk your long-term health by delaying getting the help you need. If you need medical help from your GP practice, contact them online, by an app or by phone to be assessed. If you need urgent medical help, use the NHS 111 online service or call 111. If it’s a serious or life-threatening emergency, call 999. If you are told to go to hospital it is important that you go. You should continue to attend your appointments, unless you have been told not to.