Toilet talk could keep you safe from cancer

National campaign to raise awareness of bowel cancer symptoms and (below) Dr Mark Hendrickse.
National campaign to raise awareness of bowel cancer symptoms and (below) Dr Mark Hendrickse.
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HEALTH experts in Blackpool have added their backing to a new national campaign, which encourages people to be aware of the symptoms of bowel cancer.

The condition is England’s second most common strain, with around 33,000 new cases diagnosed each year.

But it can be treatable, and spotting the signs early can make a huge difference in a patient’s recovery.

Blackpool Victoria Hospital has been delivering the national bowel cancer screening programme for Blackpool, North Lancashire, Central and East Lancashire and Blackburn and Darwen, since 2008.

Dr Mark Hendrickse, a consultant gastroenterologist at The Vic, who oversees the Lancashire Bowel Cancer Screening programme – said he welcomed a new Government campaign with the key message for people to see their GP if they spot blood or find things looser when going to the toilet for three weeks or more.

And he urged people to make sure anyone showing signs or symptoms of the disease seeks immediate medical help.

Dr Hendrickse, said: “We know people are embarrassed about talking about their bowels, but the fact is, doing so can save your life.

“If you have any of the signs or symptoms of bowel cancer, my advice would be to book an appointment with your GP as soon as possible, and let them know what’s going on.

“More often that not, your symptoms won’t mean you have cancer, but it’s always best to get them checked out.”

The key message is to see your GP if, for the last three weeks, you have:

> Had blood in your faeces or looser faeces

> Had a pain or lump in your tummy

> Been feeling more tired than usual

> Lost weight for no obvious reason

Most people diagnosed with the disease are over 50, and those with a family history of bowel cancer are more at risk.

Anyone aged 60 to 75, is to be sent bowel screening kits.

Dr Hendrickse said: “It’s important people use the kits, as they can help detect bowel cancer early, before you have any symptoms.”

For information, visit www.bowelcanceruk.org.uk.