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9 out of 10 bowel cancers could be treated successfully if caught at an early stage

9 out of 10 bowel cancers could be treated successfully if caught at an early stage

In February 1993, legendary footballer Bobby Moore died of bowel cancer at the age of 51

Now, 17 years later, we’re launching campaign encouraging men to spot bowel cancer early – with a striking photo of Moore as its the centrepiece.

The campaign launches in Derby this week in partnership with NHS Derby City. The campaign targets men over 50, aiming to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of bowel cancer and encourage them to present any symptoms to their GP as soon as possible.

Why Derby?

The Derby campaign comes shortly after the Government released its report on how the Cancer Reform Strategy is being rolled out around the UK – and the report looks at cancer statistics in these areas.

It show that, while the number of people diagnosed with bowel cancer in Derby is similar to other parts of the UK, one-year survival rates for bowel cancer are poorer.

As we’ve mentioned before, one-year survival is an important measure because it’s a reasonable indicator of the stage at which cancers are diagnosed – if it’s low, it suggests that many cases are being picked up too late.

So, how serious is this?

Around one in every 16 men will be diagnosed with bowel cancer at some point in their life, making it the third most common cancer in men after prostate and lung cancer. More than 20,000 cases were recorded in the UK in 2006.  As with most cancers, the majority of cases occur in the over the 50s.

Spotting it early really can make all the difference – nine out of ten cases of bowel cancer could be treated successfully if they’re caught at an early stage. The key is to be aware of what is normal for your body, and report any persistent changes to your doctor as soon as possible.

Symptoms to look out for are:

  • Bleeding from the bottom without a reason
  • A persistent change in bowel habits towards looser or more frequent bowel motions
  • Bloating, swelling, pain or an unexplained lump in the tummy
  • Extreme tiredness or feeling pale

If you notice any of these changes and they last for more than 4–6 weeks, play it safe – go to the doctor.

We hope that by informing men in this age group not just about the symptoms of bowel cancer, but the need to see their doctor quickly if they spot unusual changes, fewer men might die from bowel cancer.

If you live in Derby, and see the campaign, we’d be interested to hear what you think of it.

- Gill

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Comments

Gill Heatley February 16, 2010

Bowel cancer is the third most common cause of cancer death in both men and women although there are slightly more cases in men. Being aware of how to reduce the risk of bowel cancer, and how to spot the signs early is obviously something that’s relevant for both men and women. But awareness-raising campaigns like these tend to succeed best if they’re targeted at specific groups of people. They cannot be all things to all people.

In this case, there were several reasons why we chose to aim the campaign at men. A report published last year by the National Cancer Intelligence Network (NCIN) and Cancer Research UK together with the Men’s Health Forum, showed that men are 16% more likely to develop cancer overall. Experts suggest that a possible explanation for the differences seen for some types of cancer could be down to stereotypical male behaviour – like down-playing important early symptoms and having an unhealthy lifestyle. As such, men are less likely to visit their doctor with cancer symptoms, and this will have an impact on the stage at which cancer is diagnosed.

N. Uhrhammer February 15, 2010

Is bowel cancer not a problem for women, as well?