Bowel cancer awareness month

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April is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month – We need your help to raise awareness of bowel cancer. Did you know? It is the UK’s fourth most common cancer and almost 6 in 10 patients diagnosed will survive their disease for at least ten years. Being aware of the ways we can reduce the risks and what to look for can all help.

Symptoms of Bowel Cancer can include:

  • Bleeding from your bottom and/or blood in your poo
  • A change in bowel habit lasting for 3 weeks or more especially looser or runny poo
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Extreme tiredness for no obvious reason
  • A pain or lump in your tummy

You may experience one, some or none of these however if you have any concerns or if things just don’t feel right, go and see your doctor. Read more about the symptoms of bowel cancer on NHS choices.

Reducing your risk

Bowel Cancer UK states that there is an increase in evidence that diets high in red meat, and or processed meat, and low in fibre increases the risk of developing bowel cancer. Try to maximise the amount of fibre you eat (cereals, bread and pasta made from wholegrains) and aim to have five or more portions of fruit and vegetables daily.

Research has also shown that people who are overweight or obese have an increased risk of bowel cancer, so it is important to: Reduce your alcohol consumption. Aim to do at least half an hour of moderate physical activity five times a week and keep within a healthy height: weight range. To find out more about healthy weight management visit the Employee Assistant Programme for factsheets to help you get started. (In the EAP website, Right Management, select the tab Living Well/ Weight Management)

Screening

The NHS Bowel cancer screening programme is for available for those aged between 60 and 74 in the UK. The testing kit looks for the presence of blood in a stool sample using special testing strips and is returned in a hygienically sealed Freepost envelope to a laboratory for testing.

Further information is available from www.cancerscreening.nhs.uk or call 0800 707 60 60)

Good bowel health

For more information read Bowel Cancer UK’s informative leaflet about the simple steps you can take for good bowel health.

Sources of information:

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