April is bowel cancer awareness month and this year the focus is on improving care and saving lives, by early detection and screening.
Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in England. Almost 42,000 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer every year in the UK. Bowel cancer can be difficult to diagnose. The bowel cancer screening kit can detect bowel cancer early on, before the symptoms begin to show. So the best way to catch it and treat it sooner is to complete the screening kit.
Dr Neil Smith GP lead for cancer commissioning for Blackburn with Darwen and East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) has won multiple awards for his cancer work. His team has recently launched a “Let’s talk cancer” campaign encouraging people to make “cancer” part of everyday conversations. A project which Dr Smith has organised is being used where G.P.s can encourage more patients to take up screening. As a result of this there has been an increase in patients completing the kits and more cancers being detected earlier.
Dr Smith said:
“Bowel cancer screening saves lives which is why I urge anyone between the ages of 60 and 74 to take advantage of the free tests which are sent out every two years. At the moment, only 58% of those in the UK who receive a screening kit actually use it.
“Thousands of people are missing out on detecting bowel cancer at an early stage when it is easier to treat and the chance of survival dramatically increases. Don’t ignore it, take the test”
Leading a healthy lifestyle can help reduce your risk of bowel cancer. A number of ways to do this include: stopping smoking, keeping active by doing regular exercise, eating a balanced diet, and reducing the amount of alcohol you drink.
For further information, visit the NHS website: https://www.nhs.uk/