9 out of 10 bowel cancers could be treated successfully if caught at an early stage

9 out of 10 bowel cancers could be treated successfully if caught at an early stage

In February 1993, legendary footballer Bobby Moore died of bowel cancer at the age of 51

Now, 17 years later, we’re launching campaign encouraging men to spot bowel cancer early – with a striking photo of Moore as its the centrepiece.

The campaign launches in Derby this week in partnership with NHS Derby City. The campaign targets men over 50, aiming to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of bowel cancer and encourage them to present any symptoms to their GP as soon as possible.

Why Derby?

The Derby campaign comes shortly after the Government released its report on how the Cancer Reform Strategy is being rolled out around the UK – and the report looks at cancer statistics in these areas.

It show that, while the number of people diagnosed with bowel cancer in Derby is similar to other parts of the UK, one-year survival rates for bowel cancer are poorer.

As we’ve mentioned before, one-year survival is an important measure because it’s a reasonable indicator of the stage at which cancers are diagnosed – if it’s low, it suggests that many cases are being picked up too late.

So, how serious is this?

Around one in every 16 men will be diagnosed with bowel cancer at some point in their life, making it the third most common cancer in men after prostate and lung cancer. More than 20,000 cases were recorded in the UK in 2006. As with most cancers, the majority of cases occur in the over the 50s.

Spotting it early really can make all the difference – nine out of ten cases of bowel cancer could be treated successfully if they’re caught at an early stage. The key is to be aware of what is normal for your body, and report any persistent changes to your doctor as soon as possible.

Symptoms to look out for are:

  • Bleeding from the bottom without a reason
  • A persistent change in bowel habits towards looser or more frequent bowel motions
  • Bloating, swelling, pain or an unexplained lump in the tummy
  • Extreme tiredness or feeling pale

If you notice any of these changes and they last for more than 4–6 weeks, play it safe – go to the doctor.

We hope that by informing men in this age group not just about the symptoms of bowel cancer, but the need to see their doctor quickly if they spot unusual changes, fewer men might die from bowel cancer.

If you live in Derby, and see the campaign, we’d be interested to hear what you think of it.

– Gill