Bowel cancer is the UK’s second biggest cancer killer yet it’s a disease which is often overlooked and diagnosed too late. Every year over 41,500 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer which equates to a diagnosis every 15 minutes and around 16,000 deaths.
During April, the charity will be putting research under the spotlight. Nick Bason, Head of Policy and Communications for Bowel Cancer UK, said, “While major advances have been made in recent years in improving survival rates for bowel cancer, there are still huge research gaps which need to be addressed urgently to improve diagnosis and treatment of the disease. Bowel cancer is both treatable and curable if diagnosed sufficiently early.”
The disease has been in the public eye over the last year because of the tragic deaths of teenager Stephen Sutton and actress Lynda Bellingham. Bowel Cancer UK has been working with Stephen’s father Andy to raise awareness of the genetic condition they both shared – *Lynch syndrome – which put them at a higher risk of bowel cancer.
During Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, the charity will also release details of a survey undertaken among those under 50 with bowel cancer, to support it’s Never Too Young campaign.
About bowel cancer
Bowel cancer can be treated using a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and, in some cases, biological therapy. If diagnosed at the earliest stage, bowel cancer can be treated successfully, with nine out of ten people surviving for more than five years. However, only one in ten people are diagnosed at this stage. Reporting symptoms to your doctor as early as possible, is therefore essential. Symptoms of bowel cancer include:
- Bleeding from the bottom and/or blood in your poo.
- A change in your normal bowel habit lasting three weeks or more especially to looser or runny poo.
- Extreme tiredness for no obvious reason.
- Unexplained weight loss.
- A pain or lump in your tummy.
For further information see: http://www.bowelcanceruk.org.uk/never-too-young/
*Lynch Syndrome (LS), also known as hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) is an inherited condition and is the most common cause of hereditary bowel cancer. People with LS have a 72% higher risk of developing bowel cancer during their lifetime.