Bowel cancer early diagnosis is key to beating the disease, there’s no time for being shy when it comes to testing for bowel cancer.
A.k.a. colon cancer, bowel cancer is a very common cancer, with around 41,000 new cases each year that means a new diagnosis every 15 minutes, in the UK alone. Despite the benefits of nipping the cancer in the bud, many of us are too embarrassed or pretend to be too busy to see our GP, or use the home testing kit that arrives free to our doorstep. Stop placing your life at risk. Neither is this a “man’s disease”.
“One in 18 women are diagnosed with bowel cancer, but early stage diagnosis increases your chances of survival. These chances greatly diminish as the disease develops,” says Charlotte Dawson, nurse advisor for Bowel Cancer UK. It is no wonder then, the NHS are heavily invested in research and issued 30 million home-testing kits since 2006. Yet 11 million of the kits (£5 each) were discarded unused.
Take the test, it’s quite simple and bowel screening saves lives. If you notice symptoms, get over your awkwardness and act without hesitation. Doctors have seen it all!
We understand seeing your GP about such personal symptoms can be embarrassing but remember, most patients who go to their doctor with symptoms do not have cancer, confirms Mr Lee Dvorkin, consultant colorectal surgeon at The Cavell Hospital in London.
What to Look Out For
The majority of patients develop tiny growths in the bowel (polyps) and it is essential to consult your GP if the symptoms persist for more than two weeks.
- Rectal bleeding (blood mixed in with the bowel motion)
- Persistent or unexplained change in bowel habit
- Abdominal bloating or discomfort or weight loss
- Tiredness and lethargy
The Tests for Bowel Cancer
- FOB (faecal occult blood) – This home kit involves collecting stool samples on three separate days. FIT (faecal immunochemical test) – A simpler version of FOB, involving a single sample.
- BOWEL SCOPE SCREENING A new one-off test for people aged 55, where a flexible camera on a tube, is used to look inside your bowel.
- GENETIC SCREENING is advised if there exists a family history of the disease, especially if diagnosed young.
Which Kit Will You Get?
Where you live in the world will determine how and when you get tested. Everywhere in Europe is different. In England and Wales, you’ll be tested first at 60, then every two years until the age of 74. In Scotland, the age range is 50-74 and in Northern Ireland the screenings are from 60-74 years. It is irrelevant the type of test you receive, as early diagnosis is key, so please, always take the test.
Test Done, What’s Next?
Been asked to attend a colonoscopy? A flexible tube with a tiny camera will be anally inserted, allowing a visual of the insides of your intestines. A strong laxative allows the doctor to see clearly inside your bowel. Most patients are sedated so you’ll need someone to get you home.
Been told you have bowel cancer? The most effective treatment is an operation to remove the tumour and its surrounding lymph glands. These keyhole surgeries mean the patients typically spend a few days in hospital. Radiotherapy is sometimes used to shrink down the tumour in the rectum before surgery. If the cancer involves the lymph glands, chemotherapy is recommended and can last for six months.
Reduce Your Chances of Bowel Cancer
Factors known to increase bowel cancer risks include smoking, drinking two or more alcoholic drinks per day, obesity, excessive red meat, animal fat and sugar intake. Factors that decrease risk are exercising, eating more fibre, dairy and pulses.
Immunity Boosting Broth
Bone broth has many healing properties and should be included in a preventative diet, says our nutritionist. Here’s her recipe…
- Put the carcass of 1 chicken into a pan, fill with water, add sea salt and 1 tsp crushed black peppercorns.
- Bring to a boil, cover and simmer on a low heat for 2.5/3.5 hours.
- When well cooked, remove the bones and pour the broth through a sieve. Season with fresh herbs.
E380 – Bowel Cancer Risking Survival – diabetic.today