Bowel cancer: Alan Titchmarsh urges public to do screening test
While many people are now aware of some of the symptoms of bowel cancer, such as a persistent change in bowel habits, there are other signs that are less well-known.
Take, for example, breathlessness and tiredness; Dr Richard Roope, of Cancer Research UK, explained.
“A symptom where we would encourage you to see your GP is if you notice that you’re excessively tired.
“So any tiredness, for instance where you might find you’re falling behind your friends when you’re out for a walk.
“If this can’t be explained for any good reason then it may be a sign of early bowel cancer.”
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Pointing out more obvious signs is expert Dr Zoe Williams, the resident GP on This Morning.
Dr Williams said: “The best way to protect yourself is to be aware and watch out for the signs [of bowel cancer].
“They include bleeding from your bottom, blood in your poo, a persistent change in toilet habits, a pain or lump in your tummy and unexplained weight loss.
“If you experience any of these red flags, speak to your GP.”
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Bowel cancer is the “second biggest cancer killer in the UK”, following on from lung cancer, Bowel Cancer UK points out.
The disease can “affect anyone of any age”, but 94 percent of new cases are diagnosed in people over the age of 50.
“One in 15 men and one in 18 women will be diagnosed with bowel cancer during their lifetime,” the charity reveals.
Free screening for bowel cancer is now expanding to people between the ages of 50 to 59 in England.
The NHS clarifies: “This is happening gradually over four years and started in April 2021.”
At present, everyone aged 60 to 74 years, who is registered with a GP and lives in England, is automatically sent an NHS bowel cancer screening kit every two years.
The NHS adds: “If you’re 75 or over, you can ask for a kit every two years by phoning the free bowel cancer screening helpline on 0800 707 60 60.”
No screening is 100 percent reliable, so if you identify with any symptoms of bowel cancer, do speak to your GP.
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