In the UK, someone is diagnosed with bowel cancer every 15 minutes. In fact, it is the second biggest cause of cancer death.
The NHS in Leeds is sending everyone aged 60 – 74 their screening kit in the post and is encouraging them to take the test as it can detect the cancer at an early stage, even before symptoms appear.
Survival rates for bowel cancer are very closely linked to what stage of development the cancer is at when treatment starts – in other words, if it is picked up early, treatment is far more likely to be effective.
You might have seen adverts for the screening test around Leeds: “These three things could save your life.”
Taking the test really doesn’t need to feel embarrassing or uncomfortable. It is simple to use, and you can do it in your own home so you don’t need a medical appointment. The pack contains everything you need including instructions and your results will be sent by post within two weeks.
People in South Leeds who have already taken the test are encouraging others to do the same, as one 60 year-old woman from the area told us:
“I believe in taking any tests offered by the health service as early detection of any illness can save a life. The test was really straight forward … just three days and the test was done and in the post. I was relieved when I received an ‘all clear’ result. Although I did not have any concerns, it was still good to know that everything was OK. I would definitely encourage anyone to take the test… it could actually save your life.”
If you think you might have symptoms, please go to see your doctor, don’t be embarrassed about getting it checked out.
Symptoms of bowel cancer to look out for include:
- Blood in your poo or looser poo
- A pain or lump in your tummy
- Feeling more tired than usual for some time
- Losing weight for no obvious reason
Remember, taking the test is the best way to be clear on bowel cancer – the earlier it is picked up the better it can be treated and if your results are clear it will put your mind at rest.