April is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, used by Bowel Cancer UK as an opportunity to raise awareness of bowel cancer and its symptoms and to raise funds to support its fantastic work.
According to Bowel Cancer UK’s website, every 15 minutes in the UK, someone is diagnosed with bowel cancer. Bowel cancer is the 4th most common cancer in the UK. 94% of new cases are diagnosed in the over 50s but it can affect anyone of any age.
It is treatable and curable especially if diagnosed early. Nearly everyone survives bowel cancer if diagnosed at the earliest stage. However, the survival rate drops significantly as the disease develops. It is therefore important to seek advice from your GP without delay if you experience symptoms of bower cancer – don’t be embarrassed and ignore the signs.
Symptoms of bower cancer include:
- Bleeding from the anus or blood in faeces/poo
- A persistent and unexplained change in bowel habit
- Unexplained weight loss
- Unexplained fatigue
- A pain or lump in the stomach
In England and Wales people over the age of 60 are invited to take part in bowel cancer screening. From April 2021, NHS England will roll out bowel screening to those over 50. Screening takes place every 2 years to age 75. The screening programmes use home tests. If you are registered with a GP and within the eligible screening age range, a test will be automatically posted to you so it can take place in the privacy of your own home.
Small bowel cancer is rare with only around 1,500 patients diagnosed in the UK per year (less than 1% of all cancers). Most small bowel cancers are found in the duodenum - its primary function is the absorption of nutrients and minerals from food. Most of the symptoms associated with duodenal cancer are non-specific in nature which means that it can be more difficult to diagnose. Most patients experience abdominal cramps, nausea, constipation, vomiting, acid reflux, weight loss and bloody stools. In addition, there can be difficulties visualising the tumours using the usual endoscopic techniques, which unfortunately can result in delayed diagnosis.
If you have experienced a delay in diagnosis of bowel cancer or have any concerns about treatment received for bowel cancer and would like to speak with a specialist medical negligence solicitor, please contact our Linda Williams on 02920 391773 or Linda.Williams@geldards.com
MEDICAL & CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE