We at the Foundation wish to promote awareness of Bowel Cancer and help in the quest to save the lives of people in the UK and beyond. We hope that this article makes you stop and think about your own health or a family members and consider the impact Bowel Cancer could have. Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in the UK after breast and lung cancer. Almost 100 people in this country are diagnosed with the disease every day. More men than women are diagnosed with bowel cancer.
A largely preventable disease
The good news is that many bowel cancer cases could be prevented by changes to lifestyle. We can all make choices that willreduce the risk of the disease, such as taking plenty of exercise, maintaining a healthy body weight and eating a healthy diet.
For more about what affects your risk of developing bowel cancer.
It's crucial to spot
bowel cancer early
When bowel cancer is found early more than nine out of ten people will survive the disease for more then five years.
Bowel cancer can have recognisable symptoms. If you notice any of the following changes and they last longer than four to six weeks you should report them to your GP. These symptoms are unlikely to be caused by cancer, but it's better to play safe.
- Bleeding from the bottom without any obvious reason
- A persistent change in bowel habit to looser or more frequent bowel motions
- Tummy pain, especially if severe
- A lump in your tummy
Cancer Research UK was instrumental in ensuring that funding for a national bowel screening programme was secured. The screening programme has since been gradually rolled out across the UK.
This is the first time that a national screening programme includes men and women. Everyone in England aged 60 – 69 who is registered with a GP is invited to take a screening test. In Scotland a similar screening programme was rolled out to men and women aged 50 – 74 since March 2007.
Find out more about the signs and symptoms of bowel cancer and why spotting it early is so important.
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with bowel cancer, you will find more detailed information on our patient information site,CancerHelp UK.
Learn more about how bowel cancer develops and the progress our scientists are making by reading our bowel cancer briefsheet (PDF).
In addition we have a bowel cancer leaflet (PDF) that has information on preventing bowel cancer and bowel cancer symptoms.
If you want to talk in confidence about cancer, we have a team of specialist cancer information nurses who can help. Our nurses can be contacted between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday on 020 7061 8355.