Local doctors in West Lancashire are urging people to think about bowel cancer, the UK’s second biggest cancer killer.
Bowel cancer can affect men and women, with the risk increasing from the age of 60 onwards. It is the third most common cancer in men after prostate and lung cancer and the third in women after lung and breast cancer.
Working with West Lancashire Council of Voluntary Services, NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme and Lancashire County Council’s public health team, the doctors and commissioners involved with NHS West Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are now warning local people of the dangers and particularly urging anyone between 60-74 years of age to get screened.
Dr Jack Kinsey, local GP and board member from NHS West Lancashire CCG, said: “We recommend everyone between 60 and 74 years old gets screened for bowel cancer every two years but unfortunately the statistics are telling us that people are not going through the screening process. We now need to work hard with our public health colleagues to fix this.”
The screening, which involves spreading a small amount of poo on a test kit over a few days at home, is available to men and women between the ages of 60 and 74. People in this age group will be sent an invitation followed by a screening kit two weeks later. A screening kit is then sent out every two years.
Kinsey continues: “The screening process may seem daunting, but the kit helps to spot the signs of bowel cancer early, and will reduce the chances of complications in the future. In fact, if spotted early 90 per cent of cases can be treated. We’re noticing that men in particular are reluctant to come forward so we are hoping this message helps family members look out for each other and ask their loved ones if they have been screened. ”
Talk to your doctor if you notice any of the following symptoms for three weeks or more:
– Blood in your poo
– Change in your poo (diarrhoea or constipation)
– Pain or a lump in your tummy
– Unexplained weight loss or tiredness
Mark Flannagan, chief executive of Beating Bowel Cancer, said: “Taking part in screening is important because it can find bowel cancers when they are small, before they cause symptoms. It helps to detect polyps, which are non-cancerous growths, which may develop into cancer over time. Polyps can bleed and the test helps to detect tiny amounts of blood that you can’t normally see.
“The test may sound a bit embarrassing or unpleasant, but it’s quick and easy. Even if you’re fit and healthy, please take a few minutes to do it – it could save your life. Don’t do what most people do and put it on the side thinking they’ll do it later. We urge all those who are invited to take part and return their kits. Any delay could be life-threatening.”
For advice or to request a screening kit, call 0800 707 60 60 or visit www.cancerscreening.nhs.uk/bowel
For more information about the condition, please contact the charity Beating Bowel Cancer. You can call their Nurse Helpline on 08450 719 301, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.beatingbowelcancer.org
To show your support in raising awareness of bowel cancer, please download and display the CCG’s bowel cancer posters