Early Detection is Key to Beating Bowel Cancer

Discover the importance of early detection for bowel cancer and ways to prevent it. 

Understanding Bowel Cancer

Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in the world, and early detection is key to beating it.

So, what is Bowel Cancer? Bowel cancer, also known as colorectal cancer, is a type of cancer that affects the large bowel or rectum. It usually starts as small benign growths, called polyps, which can turn into cancerous tumors over time.

The symptoms of bowel cancer can be subtle, and many people don’t realise they have it until it has progressed.

Signs & Symptoms of Bowel Cancer

The symptoms of bowel cancer can include:

  • Blood in the stool
  • A change in bowel habits, such as diarrhea or constipation
  • Abdominal pain or cramping
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue or weakness

It’s important to note that not all cases of bowel cancer exhibit symptoms. That’s why regular screening is crucial to detecting the disease early.

Prevention & Risk Reduction

While there is no guaranteed way to prevent bowel cancer, there are several lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your risk:

  • Eat a healthy diet that’s high in fiber and low in processed foods
  • Exercise regularly to maintain a healthy weight
  • Quit smoking
  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • For those living in Wales, between the age of 60-70, always partake in home screening

Importance of Early Detection

Early Detection is Key Regular screening is the most effective way to detect bowel cancer early. The earlier the cancer is detected, the more successful the treatment is likely to be. The NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Program offers free screening to all eligible adults in the UK between the ages of 55and 74. The screening involves a simple home test kit that checks for blood in the stool. If you are at high risk of bowel cancer, your doctor may recommend more frequent screenings.

Get Your Home Test

By making lifestyle changes and getting regular screenings, you can reduce your risk of developing bowel cancer and increase your chances of beating it.

If you’re aged 55 to 74 years and registered with a GP, you’ll automatically be sent a bowel cancer screening kit every 2 years.

If you’re 75 or over, you can request a kit every 2 years by calling the free bowel cancer screening helpline on 0800 707 60 60.

Changes are being made so that 50-59 year olds are eligible for screening too. These changes began in 2021 & will continue over a 4-year period until everyone with in that age bracket is sent a test.

While the programme aims to provide screening to as many eligible individuals as possible, it’s important to note that those with a family history of bowel cancer or who are experiencing symptoms should speak to their GP for advice.

Early detection is key, and the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme can play a crucial role in helping to detect cancer early and potentially save lives.