If you are age between 60-74, you will automatically be sent a pack to screen you for bowel cancer every 2 years. Bowel cancer is the 4th most common cancer in the UK. Yet it is estimated that if we screen people, we can cut deaths from the disease by 15%. By 2025 it is predicted that screening will save over 2000 lives from bowel cancer every year in the UK. So – picking it up early matters – and it could save your life.
Here are some symptoms which suggest you should go and see your GP as soon as possible to exclude bowel cancer. However, even if you don’t have any of these symptoms but you are age 60-74, you still ought to do the bowel screening test that will be sent to you every 2 years.
Serious symptoms which you need to go to your GP to exclude bowel cancer are…
- A persistent change in the shape or consistency of your motions (for more than 3-4 weeks)
- A feeling of needing to strain in your back passage (as if you need to pass a bowel motion), even after opening your bowels
- Blood in your poo
- Black bits in your stool (like coffee-grounds)
- Weight loss
- A Family History of relatives having bowel cancer before the age of 60
Don’t understand the term screening?
Screening is about picking up people who have early disease but who may not yet have symptoms of that disease. They are picked up through some test or medical procedure which helps detect that disease.