As bowel cancer awareness month gets underway, it’s been reported that one in three British people can’t name a single symptom of the disease. This urgently needs to change – bowel cancer is now, globally, the second biggest killer of all cancers, and over 40,000 people in Britain are diagnosed every year.
Knowing the signs and symptoms is crucial because it could be life-saving – with tumours caught early far more likely to be treatable. Raising awareness of what to look out for is part of our mission – we want to catch as many cases of bowel cancer as early as possible. The main symptoms to watch out for are:
- Bleeding from the back passage
- A change in the frequency of bowel activity
- Abdominal pain
- Weight loss and poor appetite
- The passage of mucous or slime
- See more information on symptoms, diagnosis and treatment
While all of these symptoms are common and not usually caused by cancer, it’s important to visit your GP if you have any concerns at all.
Because we are the charity arm of the Association of Coloproctology of Great Britain & Ireland, the leading bowel surgeons working in the British Isles, the chances are if you’re referred to a specialist having experienced symptoms you’ll be seen by one of our members.
Every year these specialists, in collaboration with the Royal College of Surgeons, the NHS and HQIP run the National bowel cancer audit (NBOCA). NBOCA works to improve care and treatment for people hit by bowel cancer along the whole treatment pathway, issuing recommendations for all doctors working in the field.
One of the recommendation in the 2018 report was that the NHS & Government should work to “increase public awareness of the symptoms and signs of bowel cancer so that it is diagnosed earlier” – and it’s clear that there is much more work to be done.
So – please help us to achieve this by spreading the word, sharing this post on social media and talking to your friends, family & loved ones. If you have any of the symptoms described above, do not hesitate to speak to a GP.
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