Bowel Cancer Awareness Month

3 April 2024

Bowel Cancer Awareness Month 

April is Bowel Cancer Awareness month and we are working with Wessex Cancer Alliance to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of bowel cancer, and the importance of seeking advice from your GP, if you have any concerns.

Bowel Cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK. About 43,000 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer each year. If it is detected early, treatment is more successful and there is a good chance of recovery. It is important that you go to your doctor, with any signs or symptoms so they can help to rule out bowel cancer.

It is really important to speak to your GP, if you have noticed a change to your ‘normal’ and it has lasted for three weeks or more. Symptoms to look out for 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

Ian Girling lives in Dorset, and last year, during investigations for a bad back, his consultant reported that he was not happy with the shape of Ian’s bowel. Ian was asked to complete a poo test at home and return this in the post. This is a test that detects small amounts of blood in your poo and can be an early indicator of bowel cancer.

Ian’s results came back positive and he had to have some polyps removed from his bowel but was given the all clear following this procedure. Listen to Ian’s story here: https://youtu.be/wHPPQnBEC0w

9 times out of ten, your symptoms, like Ian’s will not mean you have cancer, but it is better to know as early as possible, so you can rule out cancer or get the treatment you need, quickly.

When Sarah went to the GP with symptoms that needed investigating, she found out that she did have bowel cancer. She received treatment for this and was given the all clear just over 10 years ago. Bowel cancer is treatable, and you can live a life after a cancer diagnosis, but an early diagnosis is key to this success. Watch Sarah’s story here: https://youtu.be/A4gkmI5w7BQ

For further information and details of support available in your area, please visit our dedicated website https://cancermatterswessex.nhs.uk/bowel-cancer/