Bowel cancer symptoms - be alert 

26/09/2012 00:00 

You may not want to talk about. You may not even want to think about it. But even being aware of it could save your life or that of your loved one. 

UCLH is backing the Government’s bowel cancer awareness campaign and colorectal clinical nurse specialist Jacquie Peck has this message: “If you detect bowel cancer early it really does increase the chances of being treated successfully. We have lots of patients who can testify to that. If you have any symptoms – don’t ignore them. The chances are that it is nothing to worry about but it’s always worth checking just in case. Go to your GP,” she urged.
Remember to keep a lookout for any symptoms: blood in your poo or looser poo that has lasted for three weeks or more; a pain or lump in your tummy, losing weight for no obvious reason and feeling more tired than usual for some time.
Although everyone between 60-74 years is sent a testing kit to their home address every two years, anyone under that age could still be at risk.
This summer the age range for testing kits was extended from 69 to74: a move which is expected to lead to an increase in the number of patients undergoing further observations at UCLH, after testing positive.
The completed kits are sent to the North Central London bowel screening hub at St Marks Hospital for analysis. Those patients with abnormal results are offered an appointment at UCLH for further investigations. If a diagnosis is confirmed, they are referred back to their local hospital but can choose to remain at UCLH for further treatment.
Judith Stein, the Trust’s lead bowel cancer screening nurse, said: “If you or any of your family or friends are sent a testing kit – don’t let them shove it away in the drawer. It really is important to complete the test kit.”
Bowel cancer is England’s third most common cancer, with around 34,000 new cases each year. It affects both men and women and is responsible for around 13,200 deaths a year. Around nine out of ten people diagnosed with bowel cancer are aged over 55 and those with a family history are at more risk.
It is estimated that 1,700 additional lives could be saved each year if England’s bowel cancer survival rate matched the best in Europe.
The NHS Be Clear on Cancer awareness campaign runs until the end of September and incorporates TV and radio advertising.
For further information about the symptoms of bowel cancer, please visit the NHS bowel cancer website.

  • UCLH is the screening centre for the North Central London Sector, covering the areas of Camden, Islington, Haringey, Enfield and Barnet.   The centre works closely with the London Programme hub located at St Marks Hospital, public health teams, hospitals across the sector and the North London Cancer Network. It holds nurse clinics for patients with abnormal test results and carries out further tests and investigations, supporting patients throughout.
  • UCLH offers a range of services for the treatment of colorectal and anal cancer including surgery, outpatient chemotherapy, radiofrequency ablation and colonic stenting. It also provides a unique service for patients using a combination of PET-fusion and intensity modulated radiotherapy to minimise tissue damage and the long term side effects of treatment. UCLH is the north central London surgical centre for anal cancer. It also provides a nurse-led follow-up service to manage potential side effects of treatment and to monitor for recurrent disease.  

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