New Bowel Cancer Campaign aims to save lives in North East London
The latest stage of the small c cancer awareness campaign launches in east London this week, with a unique and very direct approach to tackling bowel cancer.
Attention-grabbing posters and leaflets include images of a toilet and a headline urging people to visit their GP if they spot ‘blood in their poo’ or ‘looser poo for more than three weeks’.
Barts Health NHS Trust consultant colorectal surgeon Michael Machesney said there is an urgent need for the campaign.
He said: “Bowel cancer survival rates in North East London are lower than the national average, indicating that local people are more likely to be diagnosed when the cancer has reached an advanced stage.
“The good news is that bowel cancer is very easy to treat if it’s caught early.
“Nine out of ten people will survive bowel cancer if it’s diagnosed at an early stage, so it’s vitally important to know the warning signs to look out for.”
The ‘small c’ bowel cancer campaign was developed following feedback from local people that they wanted a no-nonsense, direct approach to the subject.
Other symptoms that warrant a visit to the GP include unexplained weight loss, tiredness, looking pale or experiencing pain or a lump in the tummy for more than three weeks.
Cancer symptom checklists will appear on leaflets, posters and other publicity materials that will be distributed in GP surgeries and health centres.
Mr Machesney explained: “Frequently, people find it embarrassing to discuss their bowels but it is a very normal subject to talk about with your doctor.
“Making that GP appointment if something isn’t quite right could save your life.”
One person who knows all too well the importance of detecting bowel cancer early is 83 year old Muriel Hanover from Wanstead.
Paying close attention to her body is the only reason that Muriel is alive now. In November 2011 Muriel spotted blood in her poo and knew she had to see a doctor straight away.
She said: “I knew that symptom could mean something quite serious so I got myself to a doctor very quickly.”
That very action saved her life. After tests confirmed bowel cancer, Muriel underwent surgery and treatment at Whipps Cross Hospital. Fortunately the cancer had not spread and Muriel is grateful that it was caught in time.
She said: “After spending last year’s Christmas and New Year in hospital I am just so grateful to be alive and well enough to spend holiday time with my grandchildren.
“My advice to others is that you must go as soon as something is wrong, you mustn’t be afraid.
“It’s incredible what doctors and nurses can do these days and you’re much better off with them looking after you than ignoring it”