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Bowel Cancer Awareness

Published: 13th April 2017 16:02

It is Bowel Cancer Awareness month and the three Clinical Commissioning Groups in Portsmouth, South Eastern Hampshire and Fareham and Gosport are raising awareness about the importance of screening.

Bowel Cancer is treatable and curable. Nearly everyone diagnosed at the earliest stage will survive bowel cancer and taking part in screening is the best way to get diagnosed early. 

Last year, 57.2% of the population eligible for screening in Portsmouth took up the offer and returned their screening kit, while 64.7% of those eligible in Hampshire returned theirs - the national average for 2016 was 60%.

In the UK, people aged 60-74 will receive a bowel cancer screening kit in the post every two years. This is a means for potentially early diagnosis that could lead to life saving bowel cancer treatment. 

For most people, they will be told within two weeks of returning their sample that there are no signs of bowel cancer detected. However, for others the test may find blood in the sample which will result in an invitation to a local screening centre. This can mean other underlying health issues other than bowel cancer.

Dr Jonathan Lake, Clinical Executive Lead for Planned Care and Long Term Conditions in Portsmouth said: “It is important to remember that Cancer is much harder to treat if it’s not caught early. Whilst it is understandable that most of us do not feel comfortable talking about our bowel movements and many may find this particular test unpleasant – this could potentially save your life. 

“There are a number of ways you can reduce your risk of bowel cancer, these include reducing your alcohol intake, giving up smoking and eating healthily. Be aware of your own health and wellbeing, that way you can tell when something is different and identify the possible symptoms”.

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