If you didn’t know we’re walking the Coast to Coast route across England for charity. It’s going to be a grueling task and we all have our own charities raise money and awareness for.
Syd’s picked Bowel Cancer UK as one of his charities and as it’s Bowel Cancer Awareness next month and I lost my grandfather to Bowel Cancer, I’d like to share something. It’s important to know the symptoms and while it can’t bring anyone back, it can certainly aid prevention and early diagnosis.
So thank you Syd, and I hope this article can make a difference to someone.
Bowel cancer is the UK’s 2nd biggest cancer killer, each year 16,000 people die of the disease which is treatable and curable if caught early. Diagnosis rates are almost equal between men and women and although most cases are diagnosed in people over 50 each year 2,500 people under the age of 50 are diagnosed.
Early diagnosis is key to survival so make yourself aware of the symptoms this Bowel Cancer Awareness Month
We don’t know what causes most bowel cancers, but we do know that some factors increase your risk of getting the disease. Some of these are things you can’t do anything about, for example, age and genetics. But you can make changes to your lifestyle to lower your risk of getting bowel cancer.
You are more at risk of getting bowel cancer if you have one or more of the following risk factors. This doesn’t mean that you will definitely get bowel cancer. Equally, if you don’t have any risk factors, it doesn’t mean you can’t get bowel cancer.
- Aged over 50
- A strong family history of bowel cancer
- A history of non-cancerous growths (polyps) in your bowel
- Longstanding inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
- Type 2 diabetes
- An unhealthy lifestyle
Reducing your risk
Scientists think around half (54 per cent) of all bowel cancers could be prevented by having a healthier lifestyle. You can reduce your risk by:
- eating a healthier diet
- taking more exercise
- cutting down on alcohol and stopping smoking
Eating a healthier diet can include limiting red meat and avoiding processed meat, increasing your fibre intake from wholegrains and pulses and eating more fruit and veg.
The bowel screening programme
In England, Wales and Northern Ireland people over the age of 60 are invited to take part in bowel cancer screening. In Scotland, screening starts from age 50. You will be invited to take part in screening every two years until you reach the age of 75. The national screening programme uses a home test called a Faecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT), which looks for hidden blood in poo. The test will be posted to you, so you can do it in the privacy of your own home. Using the cardboard sticks provided, you will be asked to smear two small samples of poo onto a special screening card. You will need to do this three times over a two week period (10 days in Northern Ireland and Scotland). You will be given a self-sealing, freepost envelope to send the card back to the screening centre. Full instructions and a more detailed information leaflet will be sent to you with your invitation and test.
Bowel Cancer UK are the UK’s leading bowel cancer research charity. We support and enable research, campaign for best treatment and care and educate the public and healthcare professionals about bowel cancer.
We are determined to save lives and improve the quality of life for all those affected by bowel cancer and Syd’s support will enable us to do this.